Web 2.0 Social Media is the big buzz, the promised next generation of the internet where the use of the tech may actually emerge from the shadow of tech for tech’s sake. Maybe.
I resisted getting on FaceBook until early last year, hoping to use it to help keep up on various political campaigns of interest. Can’t say as I’ve been impressed with facespace in the campaign space. This may be more a reflection on poor organization of the campaigns I was interested in. Lots of folks were impressed by the Obama phenomenon online. And now there’s a lot of folks calling for the GOP to get off our duffs and get with the 20th century online (e.g. www.rebuildtheparty.com, www.thenextright.com)
Technology is a tool (the medium, not the message) and we’re all familiar with the waves of adoptation of tools. The GOP was better for awhile. This year I guess it was the Dem’s turn. No different than the corporate world. I am confident the national organizations will adopt whatever the others have—they are really good at buying the guns that won the last war.
I am impressed, however, with the potential of FaceBook in personal & professional space, outside the campaign space, and the potential for applying Social Media back to all types of organizations.
Let’s take FaceBook at “face” value. The site started out to let college kids take their socializing out of the bars and online. Very similar to what MySpace and dozens of other electronic bulletin boards have been doing for years. I use MySpace & Last.fm to keep up with my interest in Americana music. FaceBook offers a different, unique critical mass. I followed my wife & teenage stepdaughter onto FaceBook, and since then have found my mom, my dad, my sister, her husband, sisters-in-law, cousins, cousins’ kids, high school buddies, Scout Troop, etc. and so on. It’s a big old small-town family reunion online.
A re-creation of community.
A tool is useful if it creates value beyond the cost of using that tool. Social Media takes time to be of value. The Care and Feeding of FaceBook is a huge potential timesink, but also provides a useful way to keep up with folks who are important in my personal life; potentially useful in my professional life.
For a lot of people, community is the sine qua non. I’m not a lot of people so my thoughts have limited usefulness in the larger world.
And the larger world is a very different question. There are huge numbers of people floating around the different group pages, fan pages, etc.. Some people have hundreds or thousands of FaceBook “friends”. How do you keep up with that many people?!? At that point I don’t see the forest for the trees. This simple conundrum didn’t really sink in for me until I got on Twitter the first part of December…