A Personal Look at Social Media: Same Humans, Different Venue

(Note: A few weeks ago I took a look at social media from the business perspective – today, I approach it from the personal side)

I have a confession to make.

Before I blurt it out, a French lesson:

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

I first heard this phrase when I was in high school – it was in a song called “Circumstances” by Rush. I quickly figured out that it was a well worn cliche – for good reason.

It means “the more things change, the more they stay the same“.

Since I was only 18 at the time, I hadn’t been through enough of my life to really have that phrase resonate with me. With the benefit of 30 more years behind me, it now rings loud and clear.

Basic human nature has not changed, at least in my lifetime.

We all want to belong – to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to be recognized and appreciated. We want to be liked, and perhaps even be considered popular. We like to hang with the “in” crowd, or conversely, flaunt our independence.

Some personalities are bubbly, some are smug. Some are quiet, others are sanctimonious. Some are positive, some, pessimistic.

What’s changed are the venues in which we display these desires and traits. Take Social Media, for example. After spending about 8 months straight on Twitter, I realized that even though it was a new and different place for interaction, the essence of the interactions had not changed from those venues of old (like high school and college, for example) . We were still going after those same wants and likes, and we still encountered a wide variety of personalities.

Which brings me back to that confession.

I admit, part of me wants to be popular (so yes, I keep track of my number of followers like a baseball score). I like to have my blog posts and Tweets appreciated (and responded to). Being part of a Twitter “pack” is pretty cool. I want to belong. I don’t like it when I follow someone (who’s not a spammer) and they don’t follow me back (i.e. rejection).

I don’t necessarily want to have these kind of feelings, and I can approach them with a bit more detachment most of the time, but as an active participant in the medium I can’t help but occasionally get pulled into their orbit. And I’m sure I’m not the only one on Twitter that feels that way.

Even though Social Media is constantly evolving to “mix in” commercial and financially orientated uses and content, I believe there will always be the undercurrent of pure human wants and needs.

Why else would we continue to call it “Social” Media?.

Same humans, different venue.

Comments

  1. says

    Terry I agree. The hype over social media is focused on the newness of the tool more often than not when the “tool” is just that, another step in the development to enable the communications amongst the social folks easier.

    Someday our tweets, utterz, blog posts, vlog posts, etc. will be effortlessly broadcast to the entire world. The network will be less limited to geographic locations or to being members of this or that tool set. The questions will remain, who will we listen to, who will listen to us?

  2. says

    Terry,
    We’re all little kids learning to use our voices, tugging on sleeves asking each other to listen. Our friends and interested folks do just that and our communities grow with heart and wisdom — we grow with them. You’re right. It’s the way it’s always been.

  3. says

    It makes a great sense, that whole “bringing yourself to the new medium.” I believe these tools allow us to amplify ourselves. Whatever we are, we’re more of that. The One Ring, only without the hobbitses.

    Or maybe I should stop eating bad Chinese food for lunch while trying to get more fit. : )

  4. says

    Terry

    It is all so true, what you said about our want to belong and be popular, just like when we were young. When I first came on to Social network, the little girl in me came out. I would looked at the people in twitter with the big following the same way,as I did when I looked at the football players and cheerleaders in school.
    The diffrence are we’re all a little older now, and most of them are much nicer than the high school ball players and cheerleaders in my days.

    I am glad I am here in the social network community. Everyday I am learning and growing with most of them.
    That is a good thing :-)

    Giovanna Garcia

  5. says

    Steve, Liz, Chris and Giovanna, thanks a bunch for stopping by and commenting on this post.

    It’s good to talk about these kind of feelings, no matter the medium. The kids in us demand it.

    Thanks for adding your voice to this discussion.

    All my best,

    Terry

  6. says

    Terry – love that phrase “the kids in us demand it”

    It’s interesting to watch the dynamics of twitter. I’ve been thinking a lot about trust lately and how much we WANT to give it. And how we feel when people abuse it online. Yep, 5th grade all over again…

    Best, Laurie

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