Back in 2012 my book on social media came out. The effort of three years’ research and observation it highlighted the impact social media has on trust and the way we seek to develop credentials in a world that is largely faceless.
Since then we’ve come to realize that social media usage can become addictive, presents risks, and is constantly evolving to the point that even the sociotechnical platforms on which it takes case may have a limited lifespan.
Eight years ago the world was a different place. The Arab Spring had happened because of social media. The world was becoming transparent. Radical transparency was a challenge that was changing the established world order.
Since then we’ve had data that has fed the call from medical professionals for us to quit social media, it has given rise to diagnosis that show how it affects our mental health and it has also become part of the way we imagine our future.
When something becomes so disruptive and pervasive that it can end itself, equally, to opposing arguments a good case can be made for it being fundamental. So now, you will ask, how can social media, the seemingly bottomless pit into which we can throw our time and attention, can become fundamental when it is still so new?
The answer lies not in the function but in the form. Sure, social media, as we know it through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles is new but our efforts to curate our own identity are the constant constellation we use to navigate life.
Just because something has expanded into the digital realm doesn’t mean that it’s an added extra we have no real use for. Quite the contrary. All technology is nothing more than an augmentation of existing human capabilities and a means of fulfilling human needs and drives better.
Getting to know who we are, determining our own value, values and place in the world and understanding the limits and boundaries of our own capabilities has always been the path we’ve had to travel on in order to live a more fulfilling, useful life. Social media empowers us in ways we couldn’t be empowered before. The Social Media Mind broke new ground by actively delivering the concepts necessary to kickstart the conversation on social media and its impact.
The book’s content spread through quotes across the internet and it has been cited in dozens of research papers. As I am hard at work updating for the 21st century the question that is at the back of my mind is “has anything changed fundamentally?”. The times we live in are challenging, to be sure. Technology is evolving and 5G will soon see us swimming in a sea of data (more about all this in the very near future) but all of this is just tech. Function. Form factors stem from deeper needs and the form factors of and for social media remain largely unchanged.
As does the need for coffee and something sweet to get through a decent Sunday’s Read. I hope you guys have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.