I find social media fascinating. As far as I’m concerned, we have the greatest innovation since the printing press in terms of the democratization of ideas. As you can see in this interesting experiment by Alana Taylor, most people honestly don’t know or do not care about social media. As I’ve discussed with Hugh MacLeod, social media has become something like a cult, where it’s those who “get it” and those who don’t.
Most people shouldn’t care about social media. The subject matter discussed in social media spheres does not directly impact their lives. It really is a wasteful time suck for them.
Why do I say this? I see very little in social media spheres about anything about current events, or sports, or business, or entertainment, or anything else someone actually looks to “media” for. I see a lot about cutting edge technology, which primarily affects you if you are in the technology business. Eight out of the top ten Technorati blogs are tech related. Most people just wait for technology to become affordable, so of course they don’t read blogs or care about social media. They wait for some reporter to steal a story from a blogger and then they read it there or see it when it hits TV.
This is not necessarily an assessment of blame, mind you. People who understand technology are more likely to take the time to sit at a computer to read blogs. They are more likely to set up blogs or learn how to have their own internet TV show. We just have to understand that this medium is very powerful. There’s more to the world than technology and we can spread the word a lot quicker through this medium than any other.
However, right now, my sister is sitting in Houston with no power. There are lines in Houston for generators, gasoline, and food. A friend from Galveston who is organizing this event is sitting in her Dallas friend’s home, wondering what her home town looks like and if any of her friends are dead. I’ve seen a little bit about this stuff from my Houston friends in the Twittosphere. I found about it a.) in the Houston Chronicle blog, which is a blog but is most certainly owned by a large traditional media company, b.) through email and c.) on a telephone. So no, I don’t have time to care if some “A-List” blogger tweets about a piece of cheesecake (although I’m sure some of his friends do). I need to know what the hell is going on there, and right now the most prominent social media sources are not meeting that need…
If there are other forms of relief or news you know of, please comment.