A little book club of non-profit emerging leaders I’m involved with picked Clay Shirky’sHere Comes Everybody as our latest book. The subtitle is very intriguing – The Power of Organizing without Organizations. With this intriguing title and Shirky’s well-respected background in social media, it was odd that most of us were disappointed (with one exception!)
I won’t try to summarize the other’s positions at all, however, I think the exception to being disappointed with the book is this: A person who truly geeks out regarding social media, social theory, and information will probably enjoy this book.
In fact that summarizes the book. Shirky takes well-known social theories such as the power distribution law and applies them to social media outlets like Flickr, Wikipedia, and Meetup. If you are looking for concrete steps on how to create social change without creating a new organization – this is NOT the book for you. If you want to think and be academic about the idea in vague terms this IS for you.
Much of what was discussed throughout the book was either common knowledge or intuitive. Another large portion is highly unlikely to happen due to the special circumstances surrounding the event.
One problem with books about social media is that they quickly become outdated. This book published in 2008, barely mentions Twitter (at the end he confesses that it just started becoming big while writing the book). I’m sure he would have written about the power of Twitter in the Mumbai bombings and more recently the Iranian election. In his defense on this section, Shirky created a blog to continue the discussion.
Finally, I found it a little dull overall. I enjoyed the stories, but some of the social theory stuff was hard to get through. I would not rush out and purchase this book, if you’d like my copy let me know!
Note: I didn’t realize until I was at the book club (only 2 people had read the book cover to cover) that my copy was an unedited manuscript. It was clearly marked “not for distribution” but somebody dropped it off at Goodwill where someone found it for $3.99 and turned around and sold it to me for $8.99 plus shipping. I felt a lot better after discovering that it was unedited because there were a lot of grammatical errors and random double words or words omitted!
Facebook has gotten plenty of negative feedback for their redesign. That isn’t the purpose of this post, but Facebook should make it easier to figure out how to do things. They touted the live news feed and how organization that use Fan Pages are really going to have to step it up in this new revamped site.
After some investigation and thanks to a Twitter comment I have figured out why not everyone sees Fan Page status updates in their news feeds.
It appears that unless you became a Fan after the redesign then you need to manually change some settings to “unhide” the status updates in your live feed. You can always hide it again later if they constantly update their status. My source for this information is Julie Bailey.
If you don’t see the fan page status updates in your news feed then here is what you do.
1) Click on the “home” tab.
2) Scroll to the bottom
3) Click on “Edit Options”
4) Next to all of the Pages is a button that says “Add to News Feed”
I finally gave in to the idea of Twittering. We’ll see what happens!
You can follow my tweets here or signup for the RSS here.
Not sure why you should get Twitter, this article convinced me.
My tweets are also available on the sidebar of both blogs and in my Facebook account. This is just one more social networking piece so we’ll see how long it lasts or if I get addicted!
Update: I’m addicted. After signing up for my account I went to a non-profit technology meeting and about a 1/4 of the people there had accounts and we are now all following each other and there is a small running community on Twitter.
It has a lot of uses and can get pretty technical, but I really like what Common Craft had to say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o
I have 326 friends or is it 210 or only 40? It depends on which social networking service I log into. What is a friend in the 21st Century, or better yet who are your friends?
Webster defines a friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem or a favored companion.” Well I definitely don’t have 326 favored companions, I am a bona fined introvert so that would be way too many friends for me to engage with.
Fortunately, for me I am able to maintain my sometimes shallow friendships under this part of the Webster definition: “one that is not hostile or one that is of the same nation, party, or group.” This is how I would characterize most of my friendships on Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn, respectively.
TIME Magazine recently published an article that began by saying that:
Whether you realize it or not, social networking is something you do every day. Each time you tell a friend about a good movie, bore a neighbor with pictures from your kid’s birthday party or catch up on gossip at work, you are reaching out to people you know to share ideas, experiences and information. The genius of social-networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook lies in their ability to capture the essence of these informal exchanges and distill them online into an expanding matrix of searchable, linked Web pages.
The statistics are amazing almost half of Internet users or 83 million people visited Myspace or Facebook, two of the most popular social networking sites. Both sites are also bringing in millions of dollars for their founders and owners.
A local newspaper wrote an article shortly after TIME’s which explored some of the consequences of this boom.
It’s common for users to create “real” friendships out of their virtual ones. For example, one person will see another is planning to attend a concert of a band they both like and ask to go along. Before long, they’re hanging out regularly.
For members of Generation Y, this notion of broadcasting information about yourself in order to find friends is perfectly natural. One user of social networks called it “invited intrusion.”
In his 2006 book “Friendship: An Expose,” author Joseph Epstein praised the use of the telephone and e-mail to maintain friendships over distances, but said social networking sites “speak to the vast loneliness in the world.”
Some observers think the digital age is promoting relationships of greater quantity but less quality.
Jeff Bardzell, a professor at IU’s School of Informatics who teaches human-computer interaction, disagrees. As someone who uses and studies networking sites and interactive online games such as Second Life, he has used the technology to reconnect with high school friends and keep up long-distance relationships.
Rather than substituting for conventional friendships, Bardzell, 37, said digital tools are a way of maintaining “loose connections” that might otherwise wither and die.
“It’s almost like your Christmas card list. That list is much bigger than the people you regularly interact with.”
Many people using social networking tools insist that just because a friendship is virtual doesn’t mean it isn’t “real.”
I would agree that this is the high-tech version of the Christmas Card list and in some ways provides more depth. Christmas cards might include a one or two page synopsis of the year with a couple of photos. Social Networking sites allow real-time uploading of pictures, stories, and information that would often get left out of the letter.
Browsing through my list there are people that I never would have heard from again after high school, college, summer camp, or whatever. This has provided a way to stay connected and have a “relationship” for the long haul. Who knows when our paths might cross again. A friend from college that I lost touch with lives in Minneapolis and we are going to connect when I move there. I would never have known that without Facebook.
I also use it to stay in touch with and keep tabs on what kids I work with at church are really thinking and doing. This can be good and bad! Stalking can be taken to a different, more passive level, which isn’t a good thing. We all must understand the boundaries and realities of what we are posting.
I think this social networking craze is going to continue to grow and expand as will my friends list. I will try and expand with it!