November 28, 2010

social media: impotent or important?

i love this article from paul carr about the pros and cons of social media. i find myself feeling similarly torn between social media's exciting power to connect people and ideas and its proliferation as an impotent buzzword. especially in my work doing fund- and awareness-raising events for charities, i so often see "social media campaigns" that, in the end, amount to a whole lot of buzz with little substance to show for it.

money quote: "...for every idea like Twestival...there are a thousand Facebook groups and 'please RT' campaigns perpetuating the lie that clicking a button and thus 'raising awareness' of an issue is the same as volunteering or donating money or – you know – doing anything even slightly meaningful."

yes, social media facilitates the spread of information, and it greatly lowers barriers to participation. but i'm very interested in incentives -- how does a social media campaign convert excitement into action? definitely something i'm going to keep thinking about...


Jonathan R. said...

I think one of the best things about social media is, as you mention, the ability to spread information. Sure, I'm into politics and economics and public policy, and all that cool "big ideas" and liberal artsy stuff. Business school I know teaches that in addition to number crunching finance courses (the econ I took at CMC and the tax courses I took in law school were plenty of that for me, thanks!), but also in both business and law the need to be ethical is paramount. Here, social media is wonderful because people will know who you are and what you did almost before you do since information spreads so fast! This can be tragic (Bernie Madoff's son's suicide) or very joyful (accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior). If we are ethical we will be respected in whatever profession we do, but we can also use social media to build others up and share with them Christ's love and guidance on how to live according to it, rather than having social media be used to tear others down.

trent reker said...

social media has given rise to the "no capital letters movement."

pun unintentional, but i like it.