No, no--wait! Don't leave. I promise to have contest winners announced...before it's the weekend. Come on, stay...
I came across a tweet yesterday from Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) linking to a sparring match between Macolm Gladwell and Clay Shirky. The basic argument? What is the #$*$%#@ point of social media (SM)?
Gladwell says SM is an innovation but perhaps it doesn't "Matter," so much. Twitter and Facebook don't solve appreciable real world problems. They're nice, but...they did give us Farmville.
I suppose I see the point. But I lean more towards Shirky's argument. Using recent political uprisings as examples, he points to ways that SM and digital platforms (phones, for ex.) have changed the playing field in a lot of games. I think Egypt is a fine example. The protests in London earlier this year made extraordinary use of Google Maps.
Those are extreme examples. But I'd be hard pressed to find any aspect of our current culture that hasn't been revolutionized by SM and its portability on digital platforms. Well...so? Does that "Matter?"
Yes. I think it does.
Social media is not about what problems it solves/what it can do for you. Mostly, it's just about making friends and utilizing the incredible economies of scale that having thousands of friends create (word-of-mouth, anyone?). But SM and digital content (apps) are also about solving the problems you didn't even know you had. Using someone else's brain labor.
Apps come out and people smack their heads--how did they live before they could Yelp? Before being able to download a flashlight onto their phone! And why didn't I think of that?! Chuck Wendig got a chili recipe off Twitter, for goodness' sake. He COULD HAVE STARVED!
SM puts you in touch with experts you'd never have access to otherwise in an environment where questions and exchange of ideas can be nonthreatening. Noncreepy (I know you can do it). Digital platforms make SM mobile and, through apps, make experts' creations easily accessible.
If that's not revolutionary...