Trying free writing – Social Media

Ok, here goes my first try at free writing in public…

I am completely convinced that social media has the ability to highlight our similarities and disarm our differences, but the most amazing thing is that it will be the participants who knowingly (or unknowingly) create the content that influences the world. I’ve heard many times that most problems, fights, etc are the effects of miscommunication or lack of communication. Social media acts as the platform(s) for which fragmented mentalities, cultures and histories can meet up, compare/contrast, and most importantly, educate. No other medium (nor prevailing social etiquettes) would allow people from different socio-economic, regional, cultural, educational, religous, and governmental backgrounds to proactively express, communicate and interact with one another in real-time or through passive communications. Social media technologies are created around intrinsic concepts of some shared social etiquette that is to be accepted (or transformed by users) leveraging the technologies. For me, the coolest thing about Twitter is that it encourages and allows users to share thier thoughts and actions with the rest of the world 24/7/365. The same people who would never talk to a stranger on the street nor discuss the private thoughts/concerns they have will go on Twitter and “spill the beans” in no more than 140 characters. This has some transformative influences on humanity as it is the people who begin to influence one another and the collective understanding is crafted/edited by those who participate. If you want to be part of the group, you will have to contribute to that collective understanding. When people feel that their thoughts/ideas matter, they will be more likely to contribute to the whole. Perhaps the digital negotiation will lead to more efficiencies, more creativity, more effort by everybody to solve global issues. I think there is a reason to be optimistic that global issues like disease eradication, ending poverty and malnutrition will not feel so esoteric to the average person once explanations and potential solutions begin to enter the world’s thought stream via social media. Out of sight out of mind no longer exists in a world where anybody can snap a picture or video, upload it to the internet and invite the rest of the community to share, comment and respond in a matter of seconds. It used to take a week to a month to get your favorite magazine in the mail, a few days to read it, maybe you photo copy an article or hand the magazine to a friend who you think should read it, and that was that – very slow, non-particpative, basically inefficient in a world where paradigms can change during the TV weather report. Not now. An image or a comment can travel around the world through social media before traditional media even understands what occurred or how to spin it. I guess what I am getting at here is that social media creates communities. Communities that have no geographical limitations. Just being on the social site makes you cool. Choosing to not participate causes others to be suspicious. Maybe it is the traditional social pressures to fit in that will lead us to understanding our interconnectedness. We may not physically participate in anything with eachother, but we all participate as members of different social media sites. The very essence of social media is participation; to be social! By joining, you are agreeing to participate; to influence and/or be influenced by others. To share. To learn. At the very least, you have to be willing to accept that the “strangers” out there are joining social media to participate as well…

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~ by Adam Maikkula on June 26, 2009.

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