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Things Biz Stone Told Me (Part Three)

This is that sandwich effect you always read about.  In the first post about Biz Stone’s book, Things a Little Bird Told Me, I gave you something I really liked that I chewed on a bit.  In the second post, I gave you something that made my eyes widen in disbelief.  And now, in the third post, I once again tell you something interesting I read in the book that made me think.

See, it all amounts to a vote for others to read the book.  Especially if you use his site, but even if you don’t.  It’s a lot of very happy, very optimistic advice.

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Image: Twitter via Flickr

On page 211, Stone writes,

For almost a decade now, we’ve been ‘friending,’ ‘following,’ liking,’ and in other ways amassing a prodigious network of virtual connections, but without a long term goal.  What’s it all for?

Uh… that’s a good question.  What is it for?  What is the purpose of social media?

I mean, yes, it connects us, it keeps us in touch, it allows us to disseminate information… but to what end?  Where is all of this leading?  We’re gathering up all these people to do… what?  I mean, is this all it is?  Are we just going to be friending and following each other until we’re in our graves?

I guess I never really thought about it until I saw a site comment on Facebook this week that they just needed one more like to hit 500.  And I instantly thought, “and then what?”  What happens when they hit 500?  Does the goal simply reset and now they strive for 1000 likes?  And what happens when they hit 1000 likes?  When we gather as hunter-gatherers, it’s to feed ourselves, to eat.  But social media sometimes feels a little like hoarding.  Gathering for gathering’s sake.

On page 218, Stone points readers towards a possible end goal: “The true promise of a connected society is people helping one another.”

I love that idea.  I really hope that his vision comes true.  On a day like today, September 11th, when the events of history weigh so heavily on our hearts, it’s a nice balloon of hope: that the world could be a better place tomorrow, next week, a few months from now.  At the very least, within our lifetime.

What do you think?  What is the point of connectivity?  Do you think it will ultimately be used to help one another?

5 comments

1 Persnickety { 09.11.14 at 8:05 am }

I don’t know if there is a point. It’s people being people- why was the telephone invented? Or the things that came before? I think because we are trying to communicate with other people. The internet lets us live in a village with people all over the world, but not perfectly so.
I hope it will help people, but I don’t know if it will, there is potential for both positive and negative aspects.
I periodically pull out snow crash by Neal Stephenson, it picked up on a lot of the trends of the internet, and it presents both positive and negative aspects.

2 a { 09.11.14 at 9:41 am }

I guess connectivity is what you make of it. It can be a way to collaborate and share ideas. It can be a way to troll or bully. But I think most people find it to be a useful way to be in a community – especially when they don’t have great interpersonal skills. Online communities allow you to edit yourself in ways that aren’t necessarily possible in person. People have to read your words or interpret the images you share and they aren’t distracted by your physical appearance. And even if you do have great interpersonal skills, an online community allows you to direct attention to the part of you that you want to show, rather than what other people want to see. It’s a way to step outside of your usual pattern.

I think connectivity has already been shown to have a use. Everything from Kickstarter campaigns to Arab Spring has shown that connecting with people directly gets them more involved in your cause.

3 Living the Dream { 09.11.14 at 10:45 am }

I think the point is fulfilling our need to belong. In my case, I like to feel occasionally validated. It’s nice to find things in common through writing and be able to relate to others on an intellectual level. The face to face interactions in our lives come with so many distractions. I’ve established a few wonderful friendships via the internet. So yah, I’m a fan 😉

4 Lori Lavender Luz { 09.11.14 at 5:55 pm }

Love this: ” But social media sometimes feels a little like hoarding. Gathering for gathering’s sake.”

For me it’s easy to get caught up in the quantification of relationships, now that social media enables us to attempt to do that.

But not well.

So that quote is really helpful to me in being more mindful about gathering for gathering’s sake.

5 Mali { 09.12.14 at 2:45 am }

The point is the social interaction itself, feeling as if we belong, as if there are people who care, people who “get” us, even if they’re on the other side of the world. In the same way that the drink I had last night with my friend was the point. There was no specific reason to get together, other than it made us feel good. And hopefully, people who care are people who will help one another. So his end goal is more achievable. And I like that.

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