Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Social Media and the Publish Yourself Syndrome

Being a media practitioner was a bit awed when I saw this on Brian Solis' blog:

"Suddenly people enjoyed the freedom to publish their thoughts and the capacity to earn prominence in these fledgling social ecosystems [social networking]. No longer was it an era of brands saying what they wished us to think; it was now clear that people were in control of their impressions and more importantly, how, where and when they shared them.

"It's no longer about what we say, it's what they say about us now that counts."

I have known since I worked in e-commerce and outsourcing that social networking and social media is going to be a great leveller making brands out of some and brand paupers out of others. I would very much like to know what others think of me as a writer and blogger. But I would be damned if I let it be known that I am looking for feedback. I am shy, you see.

If publishing thoughts is what social media is all about, then what is the publishing business for? Already people are bringing out small portable data format (pdf) files of their publications and circulating it among friends, publishing their thoughts on twitter and facebook. I guess the days of celebrity authors are over. Welcome to niche segments, targeted marketing.

Does it sound the death knell of big publishing as we know it? Does it portend to a million new creative oeuvres from so far unknown writers. Does it pay to address an audience of one, or, two, or three? It's nice to know that somebody cares to read what you writer, though wider recognition would have been good. Guess the next Shakespeare or Salinger would be a distinct impossibility.

We all live an alienated life. We are surrounded by more technology than we can handle. We wake up to the beep of our mobile phones and the first thing we look after waking up is whether we have any short messages or twitter updates. Then we listen to music on the way to work, get updates on our cell phones, are contacted about work when we are off work. We can't avoid it. Once committed, we are supposed to get things done, bring results.

Competition never dies it keeps us on our toes at all times. We seek time off but we are again not content when we aren't in touch with work. On a visit to Mahabaleshwar I heard a man in a restaurant hollering at a former employee to whom he had sent a lawyer's notice. He didn't seem to mind if others heard him. The man was spoiling the holiday of his wife and child too, but didn't seem to mind.

Well, that's modern life. Get used to it.

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