Friday, November 20, 2009

Why I Believe in Online - the Medium of the Future

This is in reply to a poem by Alankrita on Shakespeare and Company and sort of sums up my experience on social media and the entire wired world.

Like it or not, social media or networks, call it what you will, are here to stay. Why else should all celebrities insist on writing their own blogs, even sending micro blogs about snuggling close to ones husband, as Mrs. Ashton Kutcher (Demi Moore) is fond of doing? So the initial euphoria may be over, but blogging and social media are still growing and millions of addicts are being added every day.

Being stalked online, as Alankrita wrote in her poem, is a good thing. It gives you pleasure to know that someone cares about your posts without getting too intrusive. It is also a ready audience for communication, connection, and getting to know another person. And you don’t divest yourself of your power to control the situation. Intrusion is not a question because you can just remove the person and cut him/her off. And nobody can intrude without your adding him or her.

Since the mainstream media (newspapers, channels, news websites) are run by the so called vested interests, people are constantly searching for communities where they can get the latest from the horses’ mouth, so to speak. They need to know from someone they know, even remotely, because they have grown to distrust paid newspapers articles, manipulated network coverage. No wonder the daily newspaper these days look like public relations handouts by agents who are interested in spreading the cause of their celebrity clients. In fact, public relations agencies are paid on the basis of how many articles they could manage, how many interviews they could garner. There are also celebrities who charge the media for rights to cover their wedding, anniversary, birth of child, whatever.

Actually, I wouldn’t expect too much from so called friend on these networks, but don’t rule out lasting friendships either. I have known both sides of friendships online – one elevating and deep and the other shallow and superficial. Remember they are in some other parts of the world, and may have views and affiliations that you don't agree with. But overall, you can exchange ideas, catch news as it happens, and even forge genuine friendships with people in the same professions and with the same concerns. Our online identity, according to me, is a reflection of our true selves and only the ones with strength of character can survive what I call the dumbing down of the global community through these virtual communities. Our online persona and our real persona match exactly, so don’t bother to hide behind a mask. You will soon be found out. Persons who have joined for ulterior motives perish in the end and go away.

What I do is consider online networks as an extension of my blogging activities. I import my blog posts into them and have them read and comment. I have 800 followers on facebook, 200 on twitter, 300 on bloglines, 500 on ryze and its networks, around 100 who subscribe through feedburner, and around 50 daily visitors adding up to 1600 subscribers daily which is a very good thing. And I know my network will grow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

True... social networking sites are great places to 'hang out with friends'.... people love to keep in touch, know more, be updated and also self-promote.

I read a very contrasting note today. A FB friend's status read:"In a discussion, someone said that folks most active on FB are actually truly lonely souls. Is this accurate?" I've heard people commenting that FB and other such sites are only for people who have nothing better to do, or have all the free time in the world!

The net is being smartly used for other ideas too. Read my post on it: