Thoughts and ramblings on tech, media, culture, and food. Plus some other stuff, I'm sure.

Social Media & the Real World: There's No Difference

Conversing with people over social media is no different than conversing with someone on the phone, or through a letter. I don't understand why people still think there's a disconnect between the internet and outside world. Is this the 90s?

I think that William Gibson touched on this in his book Spook Country. One of the running themes is that there's this second layer on top of our physical world, that always exists even if it isn't always seen. The premise is that these two layers are merging to a point where there is no longer a difference between what is physically there and what is virtually projected.

But past that, we shouldn't even think in this layer analogy. The people we interact with online are flesh and blood persons with thoughts and feelings and opinions regardless of the medium we choose to interact through.

There's a lot of questioning and attacking from certain circles, right alongside the curiosity and exploration and excitement those of us in love with social media are generating. Many of my HigherEd web colleagues have been talking about the recent media explosion over Twitter.

@bradjward tweeted:

So mainstream media is talking about Twitter a lot. Good? Bad? Why? Seeing mixed reactions from the crowd.

@jesskry tweeted:

Im sick of the media trash talk about Twitter's 'What are you doing' icebreaker. We're doing much more than that people. Much more.

People aren't just hanging out on Twitter, shunning real life. Twitter is real life in that we are communicating on any number of personal, professional and other topics that pertain to how we live.

Just this past week I've had help in choosing a new chair for my desk at home, thoughts on web design projects, invitations to visit friends in other cities, and have stayed up on world events.

I think that is what scares traditional media. They can't control when people get their news anymore. They are at the mercy of rapid-fire communication and at a loss on how to adapt and use it. But it's not so much about strategy as it is about embracing changes in the communication landscape.

There is definitely a huge paradigm shift happening and like history has demonstrated, those not embracing the inevitable end-result will lose out and probably be bitter about it. It doesn't matter if you don't understand it--a lack of understanding does not equal bad.

New tech will always scare the established old-fogey power -- look at what's going on with Hulu and Boxee -- but the traditional, physical world will eventually meld with the digital, electronic world and we'll see that there really is no difference anymore. And those of us who keep pushing will see things get better and better.