Friday, August 27, 2010

Is Social Media No Longer a Conversation?

Mitch Joel, in his blog "Six Pixels of Separation" talks about the end of conversation in social media. Before some of us Baby Boomers have even caught on to the power or potential or possiblities around social media, the communication has already changed. In Joel's view, and I tend to agree, there is no longer actual conversation in social media, but simply feedback.

As I read the blog I could not help but relate it to what happens in an organization when the culture is less than trusting. In a less than trusting culture, few people feel comfortable standing in a place of not knowing or in a place of curiosity. They don't ask big, wide open questions....they ask safe, less risk taking questions. They are less vulnerable, they are less apt to let on that they are beginners. Couple this with intense workloads and reduced resources and you have little time for honest, open, big, wide, juicy, exploratory conversation.

I wonder if that is true now on the web and in social media as well? Because everything we say or respond to or dialogue around can be found and reported and re-read, re-tweeted, re-published, have we lost trust and the ability to engage in authentic dialogue?

Did we ever have big, wide, open, honest, exploratory conversation online?

If not, we should have...the web and social media allowed us to reach out and connect to minds and views and experiences we could not have reached in this lifetime. What a great time to really, deeply, mine and explore and learn.

Perhaps Mitch is right. Perhaps blogs are now simply a place to publish with a bit of feedback, but only one way feedback, and tweeting is simply too constrained for real conversation. Which leads me to wonder if we have missed a rare and beautiful opportunity to delve into some of the deeper questions with those you would have never had the opportunity to meet through other means, to ponder the mysteries of life, to dialoge around why things are the way things are and how we might shift them for the better. I wonder what you think, what your questions are and what the dialogue, the conversation would be around it.

No comments: