Are we more than a bunch of navel-gazers?

By | October 28, 2010

I ask this because I live in a social-online-media-bubble. I am blogging, podcasting and generally up to date with every new geek toy that comes in sight. My friends are in the same bubble, at least a big part of them (some guys and girls I know since school are not but I don’t see them often, because they are not at barcamps or blogtails) You might know this bubble, chances are that you are in here, too.

In this little social-online-media-bubble we take every little shift very serious. Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook places? Big decision. Are you blogging or podcasting or vodcasting? Big difference. WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr or something else? Big thing.
But really? No, it’s not.

This week I’ve been at the Junior E-day, aimed at Teenagers. I’ve participated in a discussion panel, the room was filled with maybe 100 to 150 youngsters. Guess what? Only one of them is on Twitter, none of them knew what a podcast is and they don’t read blogs. No-one is on foursquare, eighter. Plus: they couldn’t care less. But approximately 90% of those teenagers said that they are on facebook. From my own teenage daughter I know that youtube is big among her peers as well.

My stepfather equals facebook with “the internet” because “the facebook” is all he is connected to. He is in his sixties and a few years ago he referred to yahoo as “the internet” The things that are not on his view of the internet don’t happen, as far as he is concerned. Ok, he is not tech-savvy as you might already have guessed, but how many – moderately tech-savvy – people do you know that think “google or it didn’t happen?”

It seems to shift to “facebook or it didn’t happen” (it hurts to write this, I’d rather write “facebook didn’t happen” but this wouldn’t be quite the truth and a completely other story)
So one of the questions we have to tackle at the World Blogging Forum could be:

“are we talking about our somewhat sophisticated approach or are we talking about the significance for the masses when it comes to the future of blogging?”

And while we contemplating about the latest shifts in digital media and what it may mean for the future of our blogs, pod- and vodcasts, we could ask ourselves the question:

“if everyone and their grandma is on facebook should we all start promoting our stuff there or do we have a better approach?”

I sure do hope so and I am anxious to hear what you suggest so let’s start the conversation right here, right now.

2 thoughts on “Are we more than a bunch of navel-gazers?

  1. Leon

    THIS, Susanne, is just genius! Shovelling stuff into people’s mouth who say “Foursquare is big” or “promote your business on twitter in Europe” is just what I am trying to get across in my recent posts.
    Getting out of this bubble is not easy given the degree of geekism around where being a geek is certainly not a bad thing. But I know we have heard “being a geek is the new mainstream”, but frankly no, it just isn’t. Ask those teenagers who are the young bunch that “grow up with this stuff – Internet is there (second) life” everyone is telling us. They DON’T grow up with this stuff – they grow up with Facebook and Google, period.
    Getting people to think outside this bubble is gonna be a tough one. And focusing solely on FB is certainly not a satisfying approach either.

    “Talking about the significance for the masses” Susanne, I am so with you.

  2. Martin-Hannes_Giesswein

    Lets c it from a different angle: there is a difference between content generation and content distribution.
    I think that bloggers are one species of content generators and will be more important in the future as bloggerism and journalism are merging.
    When it comes to distribution it is all about reach. And FB is reach. I do believe it is stronger than RSS-readers, bookmarks, newsletters and all other attemps on our blogs to stay connected with our content consumers.
    But worst thing that can happen is a monopoly in distribution. this leads to a dominant role of the distributor and allows him to make the rules. So what we want is competition in the distribution, equal arms of at least 3 players.
    If all the above is right, we need to foster other distributors, I start with twitter 🙂 Lets c what diaspora brings.
    The blog itself is more a data repository, making sure u control the content and ur rights and not the distributor.


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