My Top 10 Social Media Moments

Over the years, social media has challenged, amused, embarrassed, inspired and enlightened me. In no particular order (but numbered, so I can call it a “top-10” list) here are some of my favorite moments:

10. Opting out of a page in ” the Facebook” in early 2005 with the quip, “I just don’t see why anyone would want one.” doh.

9. Sending what was meant to be a funny tweet about spending my 12th night in a month at JFK’s Terminal 5, only to get a reply from someone I didn’t even know 5 minutes later confirming my *prepaid* reservation at the Marriott down the street.

8. Discovering the Twitter backchannel at an academic conference–and getting WAY more value out of it than I ever had from any plenary, panel, or keynote.

7. Watching bloggers who had never actually met greet each other like long-lost sisters the first day of a social media conference. Being baffled. And then doing it myself the next year.

6. Finally “getting” Facebook as dozens of people from my graduating class (most of whom were never really “friends” in high school) came together to support a classmate whose baby daughter was born with a hole in her heart.

5. Watching a dozen inner-city teenagers actually fact-check–and spell-check–their homework, because their audience was the world (aka Wikipedia)…instead of just their over-earnest teacher.

4. Being brought up on stage and called out as the only person in the audience of a social media conference still rocking the flip phone.

3. Seeing my blog called “wise and delightful” in a tweet from someone I would have been tempted to faun over had I we ever been in the same room.

2. Realizing that one of the projects we’d funded through TippingBucket had helped to launch the Arab Spring.

1. Signing the check for our first $1,000,000 crowd-funded grant. (This one hasn’t happened yet. But it will.)

Those are my moments…
What are some of yours?

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Here Comes Everybody : Clay Shirky

“Linux got to be world-changingly good not by promising to be great, or by bringing paid developers together under the direction of some master plan, but by getting incrementally better, through voluntary contributions, one version at a time.” – Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody

The social world does not run on averages. Shirky points out that there is no “average” social network. We have incredibly successful ones like facebook, and then lots of failed ones that we never even hear about.

This makes sense when you look at where the value lies in sociality. It isn’t the people per se, but the connections between the people. New users strengthen social networks because a new user isn’t just another person, it is another potential contact with every other person on the network.

Social media represents a new kind of Democracy–one in which we vote not by ballot, but by with our effort. With social media, we can pool our time, talents, and resources to effect changes that were impossible even 5 years ago.

Fragmenting Communication

At some point in the past 4 days, Kate suggested pedicures. I didn’t remember the date or time. Nor did I remember responding. I checked my inboxes: gmail, facebook and text messages…nope. I checked my RSS feed-reader, chat archives, skype log, twitter updates…nope. I searched my facebook wall, my blog dashboards, my inbox [again.] Nothing.

Then I started to feel a little crazy. Were we actually speaking face to face? I would have sworn I’d seen it written. What color was it? What typeface? Have I started “typing” verbal conversations in my head?

I never did find it. Ended up, after a disproportionately long mental debate about what medium to use, sending her an email…and really wondering about the quantity/quality balance of my own “connectedness.”