Social media is not always about life and death situations and the fight for freedom. It is also as amusing, subtle, endearing and light-hearted as the interaction of the crowd. It is this nuance which takes place on a personal basis which makes it so powerful, pervasive, important and has companies (and governments) running scared.
When your country is growing under a sovereign debt that’s 160% of GDP, you have no heavy production industry, your agriculture has stagnated and your main industry, tourism, has been under attack through lack of leadership and competition from neighbouring countries, the suggestion that a few Tweets might help save the day is ludicrous.
We love social media because we love story-telling. We can’t resist the tale of a brand that’s hip and cool, we are unable to turn away from the site that delivers us cutting-edge content and we absolutely cannot resist the fairy tale story of Pretty Woman, forced to tread down unsavoury paths but rising above circumstances to make good and find her guy.
This morning a writer friend on Google Plus shared a post directly with me on How The Publishing Industry is Looking to Barnes & Noble to save them from Amazon. When we read stories like that reported in the Press certain phrases tend to leap out at us such as:
The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEC) in the small municipality of Davos (pop. 11,289) with its picturesque, snow-capped chalets and its world-class ski-resort has always been one of those events which outsiders have considered an opportunity for the powerful and the super-rich to hob-nob and plan how to create opportunities to make more millions.
In his best-selling book, Outliers Malcolm Gladwell makes a convincing case for the psychological advantage the rice-paddy worker enjoys, historically, over his Western, agricultural counterpart. While farming, he says, is mostly governed by the seasons and fields, even when intensively farmed, have to have a time to recover, the same constraints are not imposed upon a rice paddy where the yield is directly linked to the amount of precise work and attention to detail the rice paddy farmer is willing to devote.
Intuitively I know that everything in the world is connected in ways that I cannot see but which I understand. I know, for instance, that neutrinos are going through me and the Earth at the rate of a few thousand per square centimetre. I know that everything around me, including my laptop screen is comprised of molecules which are in free flow, their solidity governed only by stable energy states and that everything, including my typing on the keyboard imparts energy which contributes to change.
There is an axiom in martial arts which states that “your first lesson is also your last”. It refers to the fact that what you learn at the very beginning of what, for most people, is an incredibly long and arduous journey, only sinks in much later, when you are better equipped by experience and ability, to really understand it.
In writing The Social Media Mind I ventured that social media, as we understand it today, is nothing new. The tools available may be different and the channels may be more accessible but it really has changed little from the days when it required a quick grasp of a populist notion and the guts to carry it off.
The road to hell truly is paved with good intentions. Because few of us are ever born chess masters and even fewer ever take the time to learn we tend, as people, to always fall back on our evolutionary hardwiring which was intended to enable us to deal with a crisis exploding in our faces in a step-by-step basis.