The Disappearance of “Social Media”
March 15, 2009 17 Comments
I’m sitting here in the swirl of buzz that is SxSWi (South by Southwest Interactive), the smorgasbord of all things leading edge in the digital creative space.
It’s all going to disappear.
What I mean is this: what we now call “social media” – this leading edge congolomeration of stuff that allows us to communicate immediately, globally, with very few limitations, will all morph in such a way that we won’t recognize it soon. Blogging (as we know it), Twitter (as we know it), and other early-generation platforms and mechanisms are all transitional forms.
What we are doing is connecting, publishing, sharing, community-building. Just as people have done forever. And just as people will do, much more effectively, in 5 years, when we try to remember what we meant when we talked about “social media.”
As Jeff Pulver mentioned in a conversation yesterday, ham radio was an early form of social media. We don’t talk about ham radio much anymore. And as adoption of lifestreaming tools like Twitter and Facebook accelerates, as publishing of creative efforts and general life updates becomes more and more mainstream, social media will simply be…life. Just as it is for many of the teens who have known no different. I wasn’t in the session, but apparently Charlene Li alluded to social media becoming like the air that surrounds us. Exactly.
For my kids, on-line sharing, persistent connectivity via mobile devices, and much of what an older generation calls “social media” is just the way life is conducted. The early, transitional tools will be irrelevant, because much smarter platforms will soon appear, with far greater ability to connect, find, aggregate, filter, and share.
We won’t be talking about “social media” for long, I predict. We’ll simply live in a global networked community. And we’ll move on to the real work – not adoption of new social media thingies, but making a difference with all the blessings of connectivity we enjoy.