Maybe There Are Just Too Many Twits Tweeting … or Maybe Not Enough

So what is all this Social Media stuff and what the Hell is “Twitter” anyway? Yes, I have clients who ask me this all the time – and that’s fine. Their professions don’t demand they remain tethered to a computer all day – as I normally do – so it is not readily apparent to them what technology has morphed into. To the uninitiated, social media appears as a labyrinth of inaccessible ramblings from unintelligible geeks.

Further, Social Media Marketing has usurped “diets” as the landmark craze of the decade. You can now find any number of books, blogs, websites, experts, and gurus, ready to guide you through the covert workings of monetizing your presence online. And just like the next big “Sure-Fire Diet”, the patina quickly wears off once the user discovers how much work is actually involved and how much time it takes to realize a return on investment.

The worst of the World Wide Web is a conversation that involves reducing humans to a demographic and squeezing out the largest common denominator. Intense commercial marketing is conducted toward this juicy demographic by the hippest hucksters on the planet. As television ushered in the age of excess and we all believed we had to have two cars in the two-car garage, so to, do we appear to need everything that is flashed on the Web.

The computer age is laying waste to the meek and the mighty, equally. As technology engulfs jobs, people, economies, and transforms our very understanding of existence, it completes the cycle by rendering old systems of knowledge obsolete. It is in this transformation that we are both blinded and lead.

“Print technology created the public. Electric technology created the mass. The public consists of separate individuals walking around with separate, fixed, points of view. The new technology demands that we abandon the luxury of this posture, this fragmentary outlook.” Marshall McLuhan wrote this in The Medium is the Massage in 1967 – long before computers consumed our every waking moment. His prophetic observations predicted the “invisible environment” and I give you the World Wide Web. The clarion call for symbiosis is echoed throughout other socio-historians work. In 1988, At the Edge of History author William Irwin Thompson – an equally prophetic mind – predicted that a “wave” was on the horizon for the nineties, and to him it looked like a Tsunami. He summarily referred to an “emerging global economy” being connected via a network of computers. It is precisely this connection that banishes borders and demands a new vision of life necessary for our evolution to continue. But are we really able to realize this vision of connection?

To be clear, I’m in no way against technological progress – only the misuse of technology. I spend a great deal of my time leading people through the mechanics of setting up a blog or their facebook page. I spend the remainder of my time trying to temper expectations. Civilization has flourished based on Man acquiring technology and learning how to manipulate his environment, thus ensuring his survival. Once Stone Age Man switched from food-collection to food-production, the technologies he created would beget trading routes, towns, and the need for centralized hierarchies to control production and consumption. Not far off would appear Kings and paupers, the Pharaohs and the pyramid builders, and the middle class and Bernie Madoff.

What will be the outcome? The disenfranchised will perish, as always, and Darwinian evolution will kick in until successive generations – surviving by living off the fruits of a new world order – stumble upon the next big technological advancement. I predict it will be time-travel, but we won’t be here to verify that. Just take if from me, time-travel is a shoe in.

So what do we do with social media if the technology has displaced our understanding of life as we know it? It’s at this precise moment that we are poised to use technology as a tool to enlighten, rather than to impede our existence. And here, we turn to the Global Village of Twitter.

Twitter has – unwittingly – created a somewhat underground anarchy letting the masses über-connect to the point of infinity. Twitter’s exponential growth has manifest a silent revolution, until you enter the Twitter Kingdom and examine the infrastructure. Yes, there is a lot of useless chatter and the hucksters lurk just behind any 140 character sound byte, but there are also other dialogues that directly respond to the needs of the global village. People need information, they need to commiserate, they need work; jobs they can depend on and a sense that they are not alone in this urban desolation and the Twitter compendium has responded in spades.

The equal parts of loathing and adoration that greet Twitter in the media offers more proof of a revolution underway. It is entirely in our hands as to whether or not we embrace it. One thing is certain about technology; it can never go backward. If you are not already familiar with what Twitter is doing in the global village, at the end of this article are some links that provide information about how to navigate the Twitter landscape and how to search for jobs. If you have been resisting the Twitter Tsunami, I say just go for it.

The real value of the Web and social media networks lay in creating successful online communities where one is able to develop relationships and where you have the opportunity to offer and gather information. The Web can be an extraordinary place to connect to others and give voice to ideas that would otherwise be lost in the Monday morning cubicle meetings. It is a rebellion against our managed lives where we are told to shut up, conform, and accept the narrowest range of ideas imaginable. The best of World Wide Web has the power to decimate this spin cycle, creating a gateway for conversations that could never have existed before.


Twitter References:

– Start with, The Definitive Guide to Twitter by Tim Andren – one of the most comprehensive articles on the Twitter universe that I’ve come across.
http://twurl.nl/w5mdhb

– Tweetdeck will help you organize the chatter/clutter
http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta

– Tweet Later [a “preferred productivity solution” – free and professional versions]
http://www.tweetlater.com

– Resume Bear provides “50 People on Twitter Job Seekers Should Follow”
http://www.resumebear.com/blog/index.php/2009/04/19/50-people-on-twitter-job-seekers-should-follow

And here is Twitter Job Search: don’t forget to add your location in the search
http://www.twitterjobsearch.com


Guest Expert:

Deborah Johnstone manages DelphicMedia with over 15 years experience in news, media, online, and graphic design production. After – finally – learning to successfully type 60 words-per-minute, the computer age ascended and rendered obsolete, the well-planned curriculum of the North York Board of Education. So, back to school she went. The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York provided the computer training ground in Graphic Design that led to an evangelist passion for new technologies. Primarily, she considers herself a vagabond – in pursuit of the universe and what is out there that we still can’t understand.

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