Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thoughts on social media/ hyperinstantconnectedness

Went to go "check" facebook a couple of weeks ago, feeling the standard ambivalence of wanting to be there/not wanting to be there, feeling a little uncomfortably out-there in the world, not wanting to spend more time trying to navigate the waters, and I hit send on this update without censoring.

It was like chum in the water. It got more play than anything I'd posted, ever. Quite a few people commented on the friend weeding, an unseemly topic in facebook.

Some gave practical tips on making facebook work for them.

Some shared what they liked about being connected.

Some shared what they didn't like.

Quite a few people expressed a similar struggle to get their heads around it. I always find this comforting. Other people's confusion.

I was given the most pause by the thoughtful and revealing comments by Kat Walsh.

I am interested in Kat's and Eugene's thoughts about engaging mindfully in this media. How does the screen/Interpipe enhance our humanity? How does it detract from it? How can it add more joy to our lives? When does it take away joy?

I'm here to practice expressing my voice. I'm here for the connections. I'm here for the laughs.

I'm here because it's the place to be in 2009, like hanging around the drive-in in the '50s.

I'm here for the experiment. I'm here because I am curious. I'm here because I think it's going to be a key piece in the next step of our advancement. I'm fascinated to see how it plays out.


Ashly Stewart said...

Social media made it possible for me to actually communicate with you. It is what built the foundation of a face to face relationship. I applaud its noble efforts, but can't wait until we build upon its architecture, its platform and embrace all the possibility that is "social media."

(side note: my comment moderation/word verification to post this comment is "palin" and it made me chuckle. Cheers)

Colin Dodd said...

For the record, I think that social organizations, communities of purpose or taste, tribes, whatever you call them, Kiwanis, Odfellows, Masons, Social Aid and comfort societies...all of those things are incredibly important and positive things, and that is what I really like about facebook and social media.

What I tire of is the new "study" of it for marketing purposes. It's kind of interesting, and important for my work, but it is becoming a pseudo predicting horse races.

The best thing I've heard lately is this: If your company uses social media, use it the way a person would talk with their friends.


And for all that, figuring out how to use social media is becoming a tiresome professional subject for some of us.

It makes me sigh.

I'm Jelly said...

Hear you, Colin, on the ickiness of marketing's attempt to exploit the social connections, and love the clarity of your vision of companies talking normally. I think there's a difference between being transparent and adopting a transparent tone though, and it's quite a big difference, and that's a fence I'm not sure most marketers will make it over...

And yes to the social value of facebook, and that's the allure of the thing for me, but I still struggle with the difference of social connections reduced to ones and zeroes... Such a big difference to the quality of the social discourse... It's like the difference between phone sex and real sex... and then there's intimacy/trust, of course, which I'm not sure will ever be available online...?

"Struggle" might not be the word. I remain curious about it all. What IS this thing that's happening, where I am suddenly re-connected to every historical social sphere in my life, including relatives I've drifted away from, parents of friends, and "friends" I haven't seen in 30 years? What the hell? What will we do with this? Where are we heading?

That sort of stuff. I like thinking about that sort of stuff. Sort of like I feel every time I look up and see the moon, and think: What the hell? A giant ball in SPACE, and it's rotating around us and - hey! We live on a BALL!? What the hell? I have to sit down.

We are heading towards a world where will ALL be connected to each other, and to all information, and to all music, and stories, all the time. Hyperinstantconnectedness! What will we do with it!?!

Awesome shit.

Noah S. said...

I forwarded this link extensively when the issue first came out:

It came at a time when I was beginning to feel like the only person in the my world without a facebook profile and I wanted everyone who was enamored with facebook to read it. I suppose I wanted to tell them I was right and they were wrong. Ditch that stupid thing. It's a passing phase. It'll never stick.

If you read it then, maybe read it again. Time in this social media space seems to be a funny thing and is certainly no analog to time in the 'real' world.

I'm not saying I despise facebook (although I have) and I'm not saying it's a waste of time (although I have), just that I don't understand facebook (or its cousins) as anything other than a tool to market. Maybe you're marketing a movie or a book or a band or an event or a personality. But it's marketing, isn't it? Marketing isn't inherently bad and this may not be any different than what we do in face to face, real life relationships, but with a twist, so why does it feel wrong? I don't know. I just don't understand it. It freaks me out a little how every person, company and thing out there has a facbook profile, including my mom and for whatever reason I don't. The world marches on and here I sit with my notepad, telephone and email, which is supposed to be obsolete soon:

It's just a huge mystery to me, yes, Jelly, much like the ball we're on with the other ball going around it, all going around an even bigger ball amongst other balls.

Why do people care so much about it? Its not real, is it? Or is it? Someone call me when its all sorted out. Or text me. Or email me. Or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with Noah. Without going into all the pros and cons (well said in the post) what gets me cranky is the overarching idea that “social media” is some sort of panacea of connectedness which is putting mankind on a path to some greater thing. I actually think it might be getting in the way to really connecting the way we’re really supposed to (and I prefer to think big picture here but that kind of discussion makes people all squirmy).

Also, it seems that much of the “connecting” is re-connecting anyway so it isn’t as if new alliances are being formed to propel us forward. It seems like it is just a new way to manage the same old stuff we’ve always had to deal with.

Last, let’s not lose sight of the fact that a majority of the world’s population is not “connected” and likely won’t be in the near future. There is only something like 28% of the world’s population that has access to the internet and so to talk about “us” all being connected is really only a discussion about western countries.

Carmen Hill said...

A weed is just a plant in the wrong the place. Sometimes you grow to appreciate it; others you've just got to yank it out.

eekim said...

Some on tools and meaning. Happy New Year!

jason walton said...

On a related note: Somewhere I came across a distinction between Twitter and Facebook that hit the mark for me - FB is where you learn to dislike people you already know; Twitter is where you learn to like people you've never met. Maybe it was you who said it.