Saturday, March 21, 2009

Social Media Wrap-Up: Jumping on the Bandwagon for Change

We’ve looked at blogging and emails and surfing and chatting,
Gaming and YouTube and SecondLife and passing.
But do you recall…the most famous social medium of all?

Facebook the popular website
Had a very big fan club
And if you ever saw it
You would join it like a shlub…

Honestly, everyone, I think we’ve talked a lot about
Facebook. But a parting shot is necessary, I think, to bring the whole social media craze together.

That’s right, ladies and gents, it’s a social media wrap-up.

This is where I finally give Facebook credit for something—it’s ability to reinvent the social networking site all over again. Truth is, Facebook isn’t all that ground-breaking. You might recall its predecessor,
MySpace, or its forerunner, Friendster. I’m told no one ever uses these social networking sites anymore (usually in a slightly puzzled and often deprecatory tone of voice) because they’re just “like, so last week.” Not so with Facebook.

Or is it?

I stumbled across a
hilarious little video which seems to capture the spirit of the age of social media. It seems to suggest that Facebook, like MySpace and Friendster before it, is on its way out, soon to be ousted from online supremacy by SecondLife.

Whether this is true remains to be seen, but it brings up an interesting point when it comes to identity: mutability. Really, it’s just a fancy-shmancy word for change. Hey, Obama advocated it, David Bowie sang about it, and no one ever has it for a five dollar bill. Must be important, right?

Here’s the deal. As human beings, we’re always subject to change. Every experience we have, every choice we make, and every person we meet has some influence on the way we do things. The changes may be big or small, but the fact of the matter is, your identity is in a constant state of flux that can change at any given moment.
The same is true online. Our identities change with the times. The you represented yourself on friendster might not be the way you represented yourself on MySpace, or Facebook, or SecondLife. This not only reflects the differences in your chosen medium of social networking, but also the differences in you as a cyber-presence. You’ve grown and matured online just as you’ve grown and matured in real life. Your tastes have changed. You have new friends, new influences. You’re a new you.

Maybe we shouldn’t look at the constant mutability in social networking media as a bad thing. Maybe we should see it as progress. Maybe we should see it as a reflection of our growing maturity and sophistication online.

Or maybe, just maybe, we should see it for what it really is—change for the sake of change.

What do you think? Are social media reinventing themselves because of demand, or are they in pursuit of the Almighty dollar? Leave a comment and let me know.

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