Here’s to the Generous Side of Social Media
Posted by Rant4u
Screenshot of Twitter conversation shows how generous power users of Twitter can be.
It’s become fashionable in some quarters to bash various aspects of social media. Whether it’s the Facebook IPO, or mostly apocryphal stories about criminals using residents’ status updates to rob empty homes, or complaints about users wasting time on different platforms. Most skeptics happen to be non-users (or light users) of social media, but I’m not using this post to push back against them.
Instead, I want to highlight an attribute of social media that is vastly overlooked by skeptics and most observers. That attribute: Generosity.
NOT JUST NARCISSISTS: Social media rightly has the reputation of being filled with narcissists tweeting and Facebooking their meals and shoe choices. One of my favorite jokes about social media: “I am so upset to learn China has banned Twitter. How will 1.2 billion Chinese know what I had for breakfast?”
It’s easy to bash those kind of posts as well as the trending topics list, which invariably features items such as “#10ThingsIMustDoBeforeIDie or “#50ThingsILove” or the fake celebrity deaths. But judging all of social media by just those posts is liking judging the quality of all magazines by the wacky Weekly World News and its Bat Boy covers. Yes, there’s lots of stuff worth turning up your nose at, but there are also jewels like the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Time, etc, etc, etc.
BE A GREAT POINTER: But what goes unnoticed is that there’s a spirit of generosity and goodwill that also permeates the world of social media, especially among power users. The best users of social media don’t point at themselves all day long. Instead, they point to useful, helpful, exclusive materials being posted by others, including, on occasion, their rivals.
Just as there’s more transparency in social media and faster acknowledgment of mistakes and issuing of corrections, social media also encourages you to be a generous connoisseur of others’ work. Most savvy users of social media are folks who shine a light on others on a regular basis.
Here’s proof of this from a Twitter conversation that happened between two senior digital journos last night.
Liz Heron (@LHeron), director of social media and engagement of the Wall Street Journal, asked a question on Twitter and Jimmy Orr (@JimmyOrr), managing editor, digital, of Los Angeles Times, said some kind words about me in his reply (and so did Liz in her reply to his reply). You can see how that looked on Twitter in the graphic above. Read More
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