A Twitter friend of mine recently, jokingly, chastised me for a post some time back about not needing Twitter and social media. That caused me to finalize a few thoughts on the topic and inspired this post – thanks DV!
On that topic, lots of folks do it every day, and yeah they do quite well. In fact, most folks live without the Internet every day and do quite well. So what is it about social media that so entices and enthralls the social media mavens out there?
Since late last year, I’ve been struggling with a number of items about social media that don’t seem to have a purpose. The current phenomenon of "social media" is more a reflection of the growing social awareness of generation X & Y than of anything else.
It’s true that the web 2.0 technologies have empowered us in new and exciting ways, allowing us to further explore new ways of doing things, and exploring new opportunities. The growing social awareness is bringing the idea of friendship and community back into lives that may have been spent focusing too much on work or single-minded pursuits.
Personally, I think that the modern urban psyche is longing for more social interaction, and pushing people to explore new methods for interacting. I believe this to be the root cause of the interest in social media, spurred by the ideas, near ubiquitous high-speed Internet connectivity, and cloud computing software technologies that allow for rapid development and deployment.
It’s this combination that makes social media what it is. Mostly the "media" part is the tools; networking, IM, photo hosting, video, podcasting, web conferencing, sharing, bookmarking… these are just things that allow us to connect the way we do – tools our parents and grandparents did not have. The social is what I talked about previously – that the maturing generations that have been exposed to computing and world-wide networking technologies have new ideas of how relationships can be built.
Still there are millions more who simply don’t need these tools and these technologies. The social part for them still exists because they always have been social. Participating & building their community is just part of their lives. Sure the Internet can add value – but not in the ways that social media technorati get value. For them it’s about news or entertainment, or simply ordering something that they can’t find locally. That’s the value for them – and that’s a good value.
Photo credit: AlvarocK!