How Real Media Misses The Point Of Social Media

As you could glean from my last post, I’ve become a little sensitive to social media zealots who seem determined to paint everyone who is wary/concerned/resistant to social media as merely being scared, whimpy individuals.

This is not to say that very good points do not continue to be made in favour of using social media.

Consider this article reproduced for Business Insider: How “Real” Media Misses the Point of Social Media written by Lisa Barone from Outspoken Media.

Barone makes a point that many of us using social media tools would make:

“The risks to exposing yourself to your customers and community aren’t nearly as severe as you may think; and the rewards are huge.”

However, she also sums up one of the best pieces of advice I would give about using social media:

“If you’re going to be a big boy and swim, and benefit from, these waters you have to be able to take it.”

These two mantras pretty much sum up the bulk of what I have seen going around in terms of the pros and cons of harnessing social media (in my context, to develop my PLN, as opposed to using it as a marketing tool etc.)  However, the rhetoric that I often see invoked when a social media convert comes across a social media resistor is that the resistor is just ‘too old-fashioned’, ‘afraid of computers’, ‘non-reflective’, ‘too scared to share’ (and by extension, even ‘selfish’), or ‘a luddite’.

In my last post I suggested some other issues that, in my mind, are not currently being considered in enough depth, and which the ‘social media resistors’ are perhaps finding it hard to articulate because of their lack of familiarity with the technology.  Interestingly, most people I would have expected to drop a comment were nowhere to be found…although it is school holidays, to be fair ;)

I suspect that discussions around how power is wielded within an identity-rich online PLE (Personal Learning Environment, consisting in part of social networking spaces like Twitter and Facebook) are difficult to have without putting noses out of joint.  However, I also think that being open about how we construct and project our identities will be a test of whether we are ‘for real’ about connecting and collaborating in a democratic and generative way.

We can’t afford to be blind to reproductions of unhealthy practice in this brave new (connected, public) world.


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  1. #1 by Mister Reiner on July 11, 2010 - 4:23 am

    Participating in social media needs to make sense for an organization and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve seen a few organizations push themselves into social media just because they want to follow the crowd and their efforts show it!

    You’re definitely right about lack of familiarity with the technology. Many people claim to know nothing about social media and don’t want to make the effort to learn about it either. It’s just amazing.

    And then there are those are anti social media. I was speaking to an attorney friend of mine last week and this was her opinion about blogging: “If someone wants my opinion, they can pay for it.”

  2. #2 by Katie Nightingale on July 11, 2010 - 5:52 pm

    Not to mention the fact that I’m surrounded by journo’s, photographers and PR agents … none of which whom have a job in the industry any more! It’s almost like do-or-die; they have either moved to “blue collar” jobs, or made the transition to working with or in social media, and out of print journalism.

  1. Collaborating with the Boss « Kelli McGraw

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