Thursday, December 9, 2010

What am I Missing?

On the one hand, we are told that social media is the great equalizer, allowing citizens of the planet to reach out to one another and form new relationships and even networks and communities where truth, justice and the American way can prevail.

On the other hand, we are also told that "marketers" are grappling daily with ways to make money from social media.

And all these "social" citizens we read about? We are also told lots of them are wasting company time posting notes on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of them are watching YouTube and porn. Many of them are illegally downloading movies and music and video games.

Meanwhile, advertisers are popping up everywhere – breaking up the social media conversation as it were.

And it occurs to me that the social world on the Internet is a lot like the real world, except that it is easier to sneak around and hide your true identity online than it is offline. Everyone has funny names and uses image icons that are nowhere near reality. So what is going on here?

According to Merriam-Webster, "social" is marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with friends or associates. But that doesn't explain the high percentage of consumers (56% according to a Harris study) who said they had "avoided a particular vendor after reading negative comments about it via social networks." That doesn't sound very pleasant for the vendor.

Anyway, how do you know if the comments are true when they are attributed to NastyGuy792?

I guess what I am saying or wondering is this: Is the Internet and social media a great accomplishment or a great experiment? And if it's the latter, when will we know for sure if it was a success or a failure?

1 comment:

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