Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Define Social Media

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...Image by luc legay via Flickr

My childhood best friend - the only person I have "tagged" as such - is on Facebook, but we don't do Facebook, Twitter, Gchat, we do very little Gmail. He only comes alive on the phone: I wish we talked more often. And I'd love to get him to move to New York. He is in Georgia, the state. He is an engineer who went to engineering school in India, and came to America after winning the diversity lottery. He has a green card, a wife, a daughter. We grew up in Nepal.

The most prolific litterers of my Facebook stream are not people I know best in person. One I have met only once, or maybe twice, but I doubt he will recognize if he were to meet me again: Baratunde Thurston. I tried to get his attention a few days back. Your profile photo is scary, I said. He did not notice, he did not respond. He is one of those for whom Facebook is a broadcast medium. He updates his status every other minute. He is speaking, he is not listening.

8 - yes, that is her middle name - is also very prolific. I met her on Plenty Of Fish, we have never met. But she was not one of my Plenty Of Fish horror stories. (Plenty Of Fish: Online Dating King) She was impressed I had managed to track down her Gmail address. We exchanged a few emails, became Facebook friends. She said she was dating Craig Silverstein. Which Einstein? Is he googleable like you? I asked. I ended up exchanging one email with Craig: Craig Silverstein. Recently 8 made me do this:

I decided to use Twitter as a broadcast medium myself. (Converting To The Mass Follow Formula On Twitter) But on Facebook I have opted for something else. After all, this is my second Facebook account. The first one Facebook deleted afer I had acquired about 1500 Facebook "friends." I have about 50 pending friend requests. I am open to online only friendships. But some of these who send friend requests are not up for exchanging even emails.

Define Social Media

In trying to figure out social media I think a lot of us start at the wrong end. Instead of starting with people, we start with old media. And so new media looks fancy and intimidating. All new media is saying is anyone who can come online can broadcast. All new media is saying is people now have the option to talk to each other in a big way. It is weird that was never possible before. Because the concept is so very simple.

Meeting new people, finding new information, establishing new connections, enriching existing ones, social media makes all that possible. People are all the rage on the web.

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