I love Twitter for the simple fact that it helps bring ideas together. Or, as Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation would say, Twitter is a place where “hunches collide” (Johnson).
So, what is this hunch I’ve had for awhile but wasn’t quite sure how to spell out or share? Well, it’s the idea that social media is somehow new. I am here to tell you that that is simply not the case.
What did he just say?
That’s right, here today I am saying that social media is, in fact, not new. The only part that is new is that new technologies came along and allowed us to put social and media together to form a new phrase.
You see, as humans, we can’t help but be social. It’s part of our genetic code. It’s inbreed, ingrained, and all too often intolerable for folks NOT to be social. And media, well that’s been around since German Johannes Gutenberg decided to reinvent the screw press into a printing press around 1440 (Wikipedia). Of course, the Town Crier preceded that but news traveled only as far as his choice of medium, his voice, would carry.
So why does any of this matter? Well, about a month ago this tweet, sent by a former student who now lives in the United Kingdom and works for a WOM* company, came across my screen.
best line from @Chris_illman “Social Media is like Fight Club – the first rule of Social Media is that you don’t talk about Social Media!”
— Meg Grogan (@Megster33) October 12, 2011
For those that do not get the reference, Fight Club was a 1999 file starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter in which Pitt and Edward form a Fight Club where the rules were simply put:
“Welcome to Fight Club! The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.
The second rule of Fight Club is you DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.”
And so I say to you:
“Welcome to Social Media! The first rule of Social Media is you do not talk about Social Media.
The second rule of Social Media is you DO NOT talk about SOCIAL MEDIA.”
If you are embarking on a communications plan in the near future I say definitely include social media in those plans, just do not talk about social media as if it’s a foreign concept for it’s truly just another medium in which to share the stories of your school.
So what, exactly, are your thoughts on:
“a social gathering, especially of or as given by an organized group, using a means of communication that reach or influence people widely”
Sources and References
Johnson, Steven. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. 1st. Riverhead, 2010. eBook.
“Media.” Dictionary.com. 2011.
“Social.” Dictionary.com. 2011.
Wikipedia contributors. “Printing press.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Sep. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
* WOM = Word of Mouth