What is Social Media?

13 02 2010

The internet and coffee

Imagine going to your favorite coffee shop by yourself, like the one I’m in right now, The Tahoe House (www.tahoe-house.com) in Tahoe City, CA.  ( I highly recommend it for the food and the atmosphere.)  You know what it’s like when you get there at that perfect time when it’s really quiet and you can get your favorite table?  You coffee house junkies know what I mean.  You sit down with your favorite beverage and pull out your book or computer and settle in for who knows how long.  As you sit there you see people come and go as the place fills up and becomes a buzz of background noise.  You love the energy of all those people and yet your still all by yourself, alone in your own little world, oblivious to everyone around you.  And then it happens, you hear someone say something that perks your ear and all of a sudden you become aware of there conversation and all of the conversations around you.  A dozen or more tables, all with their own conversations.  One is about work, one is about love and one is about skiing for the day.  Across the room is a father and daughter having a snack while talking about little girl stuff and next to them are a couple of people doing scrap-booking.  That is what social media is like.

Social Media is a bunch of individual conversations happening all around you but online and not in a single building.  Just like in your favorite coffee shop.  There are over 150 million individual conversations happening on the web right now and it is growing every day.  Some are happening on Twitter and some on Face Book but these are only a few of the places that online conversations are happening.  So the next time your in your favorite coffee shop notice how many different conversations are around you and remember how that is a small reflection of social media today.

I’d love to hear if this helps you have a better picture of what social media is and what your favorite online place is to have a conversation.

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4 responses

13 02 2010
Dave Eick

I like your analogy, but the one hang up I have with social media is the delay in reponses. Great analogy, though.

14 02 2010
halfabubbleout

It is a different time lag but sometimes that is a good thing. It sure doesn’t replace face to face conversations but it is better than letters 100 years ago.

14 02 2010
ChicoYaya

Good word picture Michael!
I understand Dave’s comment, but oddly that is one aspect I do appreciate about social media… the delay in responses, or rather, the ability to respond as it fits into my schedule. I can’t always fit in the time it would take to sit down over coffee to catch up with friends for an hour – but I can weigh in and give encouragement, express an opinion, offer a condolence or congratulations, basically, connect with people I wouldn’t ordinarily run into on a regular basis. And the beauty of it is, I can do it in my robe over my morning cup of tea, at work on my lunch break, or in the middle of playing my bedtime game of Solitaire.

14 02 2010
halfabubbleout

Thanks for the input and the encouragement. It seems as though social media allows for us to connect with some people that we would not ordinarily have face to face time with. It allows me to keep up with friends around the world that I rarely get time to see.

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