Blogging by Candlelight

Electricity pylons at sunsetIt would seem par for the course that as I turned on my laptop to blog, the power would fail.   My immediate reaction was to tweet about the power failure. The challenge with that and my momentary lapse in logic are both evident.

Once I moved past the realization of a self #fail, I was left wondering what we would do without social media.  Or, more accurately, could we return to a world without social media?

Let’s start with the pros

Yes, social media is a tremendously powerful tool for building relationships.  Whether they are with your fans or followers , the relationships are real and represent tremendous value.  (I think of it as having your own real time focus group at your finger tips.)

Social media is also great for eliminating geographic barriers and helping to reconnect with those from your former lives.  It enables businesses to provide real time customer service and provides access to a nearly limitless ‘database’ of information.

That said, it would seem that social media has embedded itself in our culture.  Made it self an indispensable and irreplaceable tool.  But is any communication medium that permanent?  Or that resistant to change and evolution?

Nothing is perfect

While it goes against the #PRBC’s positivity mandate of late (sorry, @Stina6001!) nothing is perfect.

Social media is essentially just a conglomeration of tools designed to replace face-to-face interaction.  Voicemails became texts which now rival writings on walls and at replies.  You can get a response faster through social media than you can in-person.

The question is, does social media teach us to be less personal?  Replace physical proximity with technology?  Are hashtag conversations on their way to replacing happy hour?  Is a twinterview or tweetchat the new networking event?

Could we go back?

It seems inconceivable at this point in time that social media could cease to exist.  That we could wake up one day and Twitter could be gone (Yes, Kate, I heard you gasp in horror.)

But what would it mean?  Would people take their online relationships and convert them to real life relationships?  Would hashtag conversations revert to networking events and happy hours?  Would Facebook friendships survive in the real world?

Our dependence on and love of social media would lead me to believe we would struggle or refuse to live without it.  But, then again, people once loved newspapers and magazines, and those are dropping off at an alarming rate.  Is it the fate of every communication media to die off eventually?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

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  • Haha Danielle, loved this post.

    And for the record, that positivity mandate lasted all of maybe 24 hrs :).

    Just a thought perhaps instead of “dieing off” communication media just has to evolve with its audience, like everything else?

  • I don't think facebook friendships would survive in the real world. There is only so much space on a poloroid for writing goofy comments. And real Mafia Wars might be the ruin of our fair nation. As for whether all forms of communication die eventually, I tend to think that everything has a due date, because that's what makes things enjoyable. Michael Pollan said that real food should “rot eventually,” and I think this applies to real media also. There should be something coming along to make it better, so that the old forms can rot and die. Newspapers needed the Internet to kill them, so that those stuck in that old media can get out, stretch, and get creative about finding another medium for what they have to say. So no, we couldn't go back. But whatever the future holds is sure to be even better than Twitter!

  • I don't think facebook friendships would survive in the real world. There is only so much space on a poloroid for writing goofy comments. And real Mafia Wars might be the ruin of our fair nation. As for whether all forms of communication die eventually, I tend to think that everything has a due date, because that's what makes things enjoyable. Michael Pollan said that real food should “rot eventually,” and I think this applies to real media also. There should be something coming along to make it better, so that the old forms can rot and die. Newspapers needed the Internet to kill them, so that those stuck in that old media can get out, stretch, and get creative about finding another medium for what they have to say. So no, we couldn't go back. But whatever the future holds is sure to be even better than Twitter!