I took two days off Twitter recently and listened. By listening I mean watched. I’d been noticing the changes: the shifting, the influx and the exodus. I’m not talking about how the interface is working; I’m talking about the how the users are changing through the use of the tool. I’m a sociologist at heart. I like to watch group behavior; I like to think about what makes people tick. Brian Solis described social media as “… a fusion between technology and sociology…” Naturally, I’m intrigued.
I saw really interesting happenings. There will always be leaders and there will always be followers – no Twitter pun intended. I saw people I have met in person taking on leadership roles on twitter that they never would dream of doing off line. I saw people changing their behavior from when they began on Twitter to emulate some who they must perceive as successful. I saw people building relationships based on conversation and many offerings of help.
At first, I admit, I did notice the more negative aspects of what is happening out there like the huge collecting of followers based purely on numbers without any engagement. I also noticed that some people needed instruction on how to be genuine. No, not just newspapers and corporations but actual individuals.
Through a conversation I was having with someone I greatly admire (and whom I met through Twitter) I began to describe how I found this particularly sad. He replied the “genuinely-challenged” haven’t learned that their vulnerability can be a rich source for power to do good for others.” I thought about that statement for a full day.
I see a lot of good things happening through social media. I’m not just talking about Twitter – that’s a tool and there are many tools. I see people coming together, exchanging ideas, learning and growing. I see companies communicating with people who buy their products in a meaningful way. I see publishers, PR people recognizing the need for change and working through that. In tough times I see people reaching out to each other building a community that offline, maybe crumbling around them.
It was really good to step back for a day or two. I highly recommend it. It’s also really good to be back.
Have you taken a social media break? Was it helpful? What did you learn?
from: Kathryn Jennex aka @northernchick