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?

Joining the Wikipedians

“So, SaraJoy, you’ve just completed your first major edit to a Wikipedia article. How do you feel?”

Well, Bernard, I’m actually surprised how satisfied I feel. I feel like I’ve contributed something–picked up where someone else left off and made the information available to the world on something I really care about quite a bit more complete and compelling. I feel pretty good.

Also a little scared though. Yeah, got some butterflies about what might happen in the next couple days. How will people react? Will they think I’ve done a terrible job? Did I actually get something wrong? All that. Actually I care quite a bit more about that than I thought I would.

“How did this compare to other writing you do on a regular basis?”

Writing for Wikipedia was actually quite a revealing experience that way. I enjoy writing immensely, and even though “encyclopedic” isn’t exactly how I’d describe my natural voice, it was stimulating to work at concise, objective statements of facts that wouldn’t put the reader to sleep. The thing that struck me, however, was how much more meticulous and discerning I was about sourcing and fact-checking for this piece. It’s with more than a little chagrin that I admit to feeling significantly more motivated to maintain stringent accuracy, locate credible sources, and ferret out interesting facts for an audience of 40,000 complete strangers than I usually have been for a professor, or even myself.

“What do you think you’ll do next?”

Truth be told, I think I’d actually enjoy becoming a regular contributor to Wikipedia. It flexed my writing muscles well enough and could be down right exciting if I found a couple mates to be editing buddies with–critique and contribute to each other’s edits etc. Trouble is, I haven’t got the time. Between bouncing around on the web in search of references, emailing experts, trying to incorporate as much of the existing text as possible into the re-write, and the whole coding bit, this little article took me hours! Maybe when I’m through with school…