Com597c-Week 2: SoapBox

July 1, 2009

The Social Media Conversation Prism by Brian Solis of PR 2.0 and Jesse Thomas

The Social Media Conversation Prism by Brian Solis of PR 2.0 and Jesse Thomas

Shirky’s presentation on how the internet has allowed audiences to become producers and contributors to conversations through social media definitely impacts the future storytelling on the web. How? Well, it changes it because it allows us to enlist all of the modern technologies we are use to using to communicate in one platform, causing people to feel enabled worldwide. This is why your grandma has a facebook page; not because she just happens to wake up a social media guru, but she likes seeing pictures of how you and your family are doing and engaging in a conversation about those pictures. This is a much more efficient way of things then here catching a flight from Tallahassee and showing up at your house, sitting down on the couch as she tries to talk you in to covering it with plastic, pulling out the grocery paper bag of Polaroids and pressing through slide shows of your trip to the Worlds’ Largest Frying Pan in Rose Hill, North Carolina.

That story and interaction with Grandma happens over seconds rather than hours or days. Same as many of the other stories happening in the world. My best friend and his wife were expecting their first child, the first grandchild for both sets of parents and the first niece or nephew for all the siblings. This was a major event in this entire families life (14 siblings on both sides, and each family respectively has Thanksgiving dinners pushing 50 guests.) When this child eventually arrived, the task of calling everybody and telling how long the labor was, everyone’s health status, baby stats, describing baby would be a nightmare of a chore. Having gone through this experience myself, I told him to set up a blog and a twitter hash for the family, give instructions to everyone before hand on how to access the blog and feed, then when baby arrived, he updated everyone with one task! No one complained, everyone thought it was clever, awesome and exciting how they got to see the baby within 30 minutes of birth, and regular updates for the coming days and months. They still reached out over the following days in what would consider to be more personal forms of communication (phone calls and coming to their house for a face to face.)

Those type of stories, stories that affect an entire nation to a story about a college students pimple on the inside of their nose are now stories for all interested parties because of the web. In a lot of ways it bridges the digital divide for those seeking content about things that could “traditionally” only be found in expensive publications and services. When I hear my parents generation mock mine and younger generations for texting, and spending time online I laugh because while they sit on their Lazy-Boy watching reruns of All in the Family I’m actually interacting with people and maintaining a relationship. I have wondered before and will until it is proven, but they say one of the major things that battles ones fight with Alzheimer disease is social interaction. Could the generations that grow up with and engage in social media possible not see its’ effects as much as the generations that grew up with the traditional one-way communication medias?

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