Tuesday 28 October 2014

Come On, Take The Money And Run ; Social media networking changes beyond a swipe, tap and click.

 I can still remember being a newbie ( or NOOB, as the slang goes) at the whole social media malarky. It was back in early 2007, and facebook was my weapon of first choice.

Actually, that's not true. I have to account for MySpace ( rest in peace), for which I'd signed up to in 2003 or 2004. And if that wasn't the first, then there may have been some other chatroom, probably to do with music technology or I.T. related stuff, where you could interact with each other.

You know the drill. You'd pick a username, maybe chose a graphic for your online avatar ( or presence) and you'd just type your rhetoric in. Whether you were starting a topic, or issuing a response, it was all good stuff. Unless of course, you ended up in a 'flame war', with a hostile user(s), also now better known as trolls.

The journey from those times, all the way to twitter, seems like a lifetime ago :-

Game Changer? Imagine A Twitter Where You Followed Interests Rather Than User Accounts 

I love twitter. The level of instant response, plus the speed of it and the compactness of it's implementation, leave little margin for error. It also leaves little room for the kind of flame wars described already, and the other issue of what I call 'rabbit hole syndrome'. In effect, this is a debate that just goes on forever, which although illuminating and at times invigorating, is ultimately of no real consequence or value to anyone involved. Other than a temporary feelgood whilst it's going on, or the opposite feeling of being defeated, with anxiety, dread and so on becoming amplified the longer it goes on, it's best left to those who have the time, energy and drive to carry on ploughing through. Having been in one in the past at some point ( it may have been facebook or prior..i honestly cannot remember any specifics, which proves my point somewhat), I'm happy to NOT engage in rabbit hole syndrome, due to the aforementioned drain on time and energy, which becomes completely counter-productive.

It's Facebook where I've seen and participated in many a debate ( and rant) over the years. However, there may be other things on Facebook HQ's minds :-

So Facebook controls the way millions of people get their news. What should we do about it?

This isn't strictly news ( pardon the pun ) anymore. Facebook's plans for world domination, with its sights on all kinds of wonderful data, has been in the pipeline for a long time. In effect, they want all content publishers with their own sites to come and 'live within' the facebook ecosystem. This would then be monetized via their existing structural modes and the publishers would have a share of the profits.

I have reservations about this on a number of levels. Firstly, I suspect it will be facebook that controls the feed(s) and flow of the content and not the publisher anymore, because they need to maximise returns on investment. So effectively, they are now also the curator AND pseudo editors of this once-independent content.

If this does go ahead as intended, then there most definitely should be a lot of discussions as to the merits and consequences of this system, on both sides of the table, as to retain a level of valid independence and identity in the published writing. Otherwise for me, it'll make the concept of journalism, and 'the free voice' an eventual obsolesence from the existing network. This in turn would mean even more people doing more of their own reportage, with crowdfunded (or otherwise) groups gathering together for different rationales and voice, outside the mainstream. 

Ultimately, all social media useage is about effective communication. This encompasses networking at all levels. From raw socialising ( jokes, debates, etc) to the more business and work oriented linking, it's all part of the same construct. Furthermore, there's a wide variety and style of communicating interface available on the internet, for everyone. It's akin to walking into your favourite giant shopping store or mall, and finding every kind of item you want and need, at your fingertips.

It's up to YOU to then decide which of them to give your time and energy to. Having a strategy at hand, helps enormously. Having fun, whatever you're doing on there, is mandatory. And sometimes work and play can be integrated together. That's what effective social media network useage is all about.

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