It terrifies and excites me. That which we call ‘social media’, is both an evolution of human ingenuity as it is an intimidating plunge into the abyss.
Social sites and tools such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and so on, are changing our world on the Internet and they will arguably change how we live and interact with all. And yet, I’ve many friends who refrain; who insist they’ll have nothing to do with social media because “it’s a waste of time” or they just don’t comprehend the potential value.
People wiser than I likened forging a presence on social media to building a retirement savings plan; it doesn’t offer immediate reward. It’s critical to build up a social network before one needs it. In our modern world, one must develop a channel and controlling your future means controlling that channel. I’m inclined to agree. As Canadian futurist Marshall McLuhan once said “the medium is the message.”
And yet, I find I’m at odds with social media. I love and fear it equally. I’m fascinated by the speed of communication, the instant access to information, the ability to connect and converse with people anywhere in the world at anytime. However, I also recognize how addictive and time-consuming these tools can be.
There is a downside to everything. Perhaps the expectation that social media as a unifier of people will ultimately prove to be too much to bear. What if all this improved communication simply leads to more useless noise without which we’ll be better off?
In practically everything we do there are risks. I can think of no greater risk at this juncture than to ignore that which will change your world with or without your participation. To quote poet Robert Frost: “two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Your response is welcome.