Thursday, November 4, 2010

What’s The True Power of Social Media? Part 1

We can’t look at a media or technology web site without seeing an article about the global surge in social networking. Like the advent of the Internet itself, the power of this phenomenon lies in the networking of humans and machines that effectively creates easily-accessible channels of communication and connectivity.

It’s one thing to get in contact digitally with someone you haven’t seen in years, or to connect to individuals around the globe who share a unique attribute, but it’s another to take this digital connection and form real-world relationships and rekindle face-to-face experiences that for many, are the essence of community and human culture.

Anyone following the social media evolution can see this shift happening…from Facebook and LinkedIn Events, to Foursquare, SVNGR and even the Groupons, Living Socials and Dealpops out there – joining and membership seems to foster the true social in many of us and facilitates the passing of knowledge, world-view and pure joyous fluff all at the same time.

I believe social media has more of a cultural and human impact than most people think. In my own personal experience, social media and digital forms of communication have had an insulator effect, buffering me from rejection and lessening the risk of getting hurt. It’s almost like driving a car. How many people have you seen driving down the road pickin’ their nose like there’s no tomorrow like their car makes them invisible? It’s not the passengers either, just the drivers. They feel insulated and thus almost invisible – and they will dig for that gold like the hillbilly characters on that old Bugs Bunny episode. [Bugs dressed up like a hot girl bunny hillbilly in the episode – big surprise. - Check it out here – classic:

How he found that giant toaster is anyone’s guess.

Anyway, I digress.

In my experience, many meaningful relationships, both professional and personal that I’ve developed over the years have been made via various channels of social media. And other relationships that formed in the material world have been more easily nurtured and maintained via the many easy ways to stay in touch without committing to a phone call.

In several cases I’ve admittedly used social media channels as a way to pre-screen and decide whether to take things to the next level. And now with social media everywhere and everyone on it, I’ve found my own life has become much more social overall - it makes me get out there, and put myself out there. Life is much richer with great people around.

Social media is a culture-shifting, Darwinian-driven way for us animals to compete. That explains why my 62-year old Aunt Sophie insists on pushing bushels of beets on me via Farmville. I don’t even like beets. She just wants to show off.

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