When it comes to the transformative power of social media I could recite a long list of achievements that ranges from The Arab Spring to the global outcry against SOPA but none of these would bring the message home quite the way Aimi Jones and her little yellow dress.
The internet is a decentralized world where hierarchies of value are loosely based around communities, as opposed to organizations and where identities can easily be faked by those who use it. It is, in other words, a nightmare to navigate in terms of who you know, who you trust and whose advice you can take.
The case that man and technology are seamlessly intertwined was made when none other than Plato lamented that the introduction of writing and its widespread use “…will implant forgetfulness in [the souls of men]; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.”
I have a confession to make. In days of yore, when my reading was done on dead trees reading squiggles made of dried ink I used to be a little more productive and organized. Some books used to come to me view the post for reviewing, some would be sent to me by publishers in pre-print format so I can read them and add a preface or an endorsement and many others I would buy myself.
Facebook opened to the public on September 6, 2006 creating the world’s first popular social network and, in the process, changing the online, personal contact experience forever. Facebook gave us the first truly sticky website, it created the first matrix of social interconnections with its Social Graph and it became the reason social media marketing became what it currently is.
When it comes to time, planning and productivity our brains are at odds with our drives. The cognitive dissonance generated by our stated desire to make the most of each day and our inability to really do so is demonstrated by the countless articles and studies on procrastination.
As recently as two years ago the question of what exactly it is that a search engine optimizer does would have been greeted with puzzlement. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was a usually outsourced service that was bought into a business. It was assumed that the SEO provider would carry out a technical audit of the website, go through and ‘optimize’ its pages, suggest some changes that would have to be made to the website platform’s code, create a cross-linking strategy for the existing content, source some high-quality outside links, work on the keyword density and presto!
The question of what we did before Social Media often sounds like the one about TV, cars, email and the telephone. Yet this morning, I came across a real-life example that drove the answer home to me in a viscerally powerful way.
You’ve heard all the fuss. You joined the network. You now have a Google Plus profile. The next question has to be, so what? It’s most likely you do not have any of your Facebook friends there, right now, and even if you did what’s the point of interacting with them at Google Plus when you already do so on Facebook.
Next time you point your sniper scope at a target and think that the enemy bullets flying your way feel a little too realistic you may not be wrong. The artificial barriers separating digital verisimilitude from reality, gaming from the real thing, are getting thinner by the day, apparently.