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The Top 3 Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

Photo via flightlessxbird365 via Flikr

Photo via flightlessxbird365 via Flikr

2010 is the year that the world started to wake up to how technology, and social media in particular, is fundamentally changing how we live, behave and interact.  As early adopters joined Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006 they were chided by friends and family who thought they were just goofing off online.  In reality they were laying the foundation for how personal and professional worlds are connecting and expanding today.  There are three major changes from which we can never go back.  Let’s explore them, shall we?

1. There’s a new meme in town. Either/or thinking has been replaced with both/and thinking.  When social media first hit the scene all you read about for a few years was “Traditional Media vs. Social Media,” “Online advertising and blogs are putting the smackdown on newspapers,” “Traditional media is dying and new media is the only way to go.”  This pseudo-battle makes for good headlines, but it’s complete B.S.

Starting from these simplistic and juvenile perspectives of “new = good so old = bad” was based on people feeling scared.  The older you are and the less you use technology, the more this world may not make sense to you and, like it or not, it is where the world is today and where it will be tomorrow.  But there is no need to be scared.

The truth is that our world is full of “both/and” propositions.  You’ll both watch TV and use the internet, but you’ll watch less TV and will be Twittering on your TV screen while you load a YouTube video. Advertisers will reach more people with more trackable data through social networks, and they’ll still be placing Super Bowl ads.  You’ll still make friends at work, and you’ll make friends in other countries when you participate in social networks.

Do More Faster

Do More Faster

2. Innovation and creativity are helping us to do more faster. The interwebs have crushed the barrier to entry for starting a company and creating new products and services.  I stole the Do More Faster line from the new book by Brad Feld and David Cohen of Techstars.  Read their blogs and the new book to get great insights into how innovation is exploding like never before.  The creative class is finally hitting a tipping point where we are making the business world more collaborative, fun and dynamic for everyone.  Some exclusivity will always be around, but inclusivity is on the rise. (Remember the new meme?)

3. Privacy is dead. Lets start with the study revealing that 92% of 2 year olds in the U.S. have an online record.  Imagine a 2 year old of today when she is 30.  Everything from her sonogram, emails, text messages, and browsing history to her YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, World of Warcraft and Club Penguin use will be archived.  Now add to that geo-location enabled pictures and videos that other people tag her in.  This is where we are headed.

Brian Solis believes that “we are the last generation to know privacy as it was and from now on, it will have to be taught. We are entering a new era of publicness or publicy, where we are solely responsible for creating and defining our online persona.”

I think he’s right and the people that understand this, accept it and take responsibility for their online persona will be better for doing so.  Watch the interview he did with Michael Fertik of Reputation Defender for a deeper analysis of what it means to live online when you didn’t opt-in to have your information sold and shared without your permission.

These are the top 3 changes I’ve noticed while looking at the world through my personal filter. What are you seeing changing and where do you think we’re heading as our online and offline lives continue to merge?

This article was  originally posted at Oxstein Labs.

Join The Conversation

  • BrettGreene's picture
    Oct 13 Posted 6 years ago BrettGreene

    Amy, thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment.  We think of polaroids as nostalgic, but imagine people who used to watch home movies on a projector after spooling up the film.  We can now shoot video on our iPhones and upload it instantly for the world to watch on YouTube.  It's amazing how our digital world continues to evolve and define the world in very different ways than anyone ever imagined 15 years ago.

    Check out and see what they're doing with tagging videos.  There are rumors that Facebook is looking to acquire them because their technology takes connecting videos, people and moments to a higher level than what we do today.

  • BrettGreene's picture
    Oct 13 Posted 6 years ago BrettGreene

    Jorge, we'll probably be talking about privacy for years.  How people manage theri online privacy is so different for so many people.  Your point is a good one because there will always be scammers aking advantage of people who are not paying attention to privacy, and they'll get some of us who think we're managing it too because you can't control all of it.

  • Oct 12 Posted 6 years ago Jeorge Peter (not verified) The thing that I think is greatly affected with the growth of social media is that other users do forget to keep their privacy.
  • Oct 11 Posted 6 years ago amy (not verified) That was very powerful Brett. It's hard to imagine being a kid growing up in this digital era. I'm in my 30's and when I visit my parents they pull out albums and albums of photos with hand-written dates and notes on the back of them held together by rubber bands. I pull out an ipad photo "albums" already dated by my computer. I took photos of my son being born with my cell phone and rarely miss a photo op. My parents have memories and bring up that they often forgot the camera or lost the photo. If this example doesn't show the difference between their era and mine, I don't know what does. The point is this: The world has gone digital. Like it or not, we're being tracked like never before. We can embrace it or never go online and work ourselves out of job opportunities, breaking news and enjoying family pictures the day they were taken. Like everything there is a good and a bad side to the digital revolution. Personally I think it's very exciting but often find myself thinking about the good old days when Polaroids were the coolest things ever and when friends would call me instead of texting.

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