Twitter still confounding the pundits

Many are bewildered by the explosion of social media.  And, unfortunately, it's not unusual that humans denounce what they don't understand.    Let them eat Tweets in today's NY Times is a recent example.   "Twitter is a trap...connectivity is poverty..."   
As a Business Anthropologist, I take the liberty to ask that everyone take a deep breath.  Yes, our world is changing greatly, and rapidly.  But not everything is changing.  Humans have always gotten by through exchanging with each other, whether cooperating to keep young away from predators, trading precious material, or -yes - sharing stories and perceptions. 
I take exception to the suggestion that "connectivity is poverty."  On the contrary, connectivity is how people thrive.  If you think rich people don't care about their cellphones,  try taking them away.
Social media are powering a revolution.  They will play a big part as the economy continues to morph and reinvent.  I invite those who do not comprehend  the value of Twitter to go back to their high school economics texts.  There you'll find that money is not THE measure of value; it is A measure of value.  And fairly recent in human history. 
Exchanging is as old as the first human community, perhaps 300,000n generations ago.  Money has been around for roughly 40 generations.  I'm not a bit surprised at the current explosion of exchanges that don't involve money. 
They're certainly not an indicator of poverty.  Rather, they point to changing seats of power.  Away from the bean counters.  Eureka.

31 May06:11

Bruce, your mention of

By Katin Imes (not verified)

Bruce, your mention of 'broadcast' has me thinking of the active debates around Twitter and whether it is a broadcast medium or not. Most Twitter power users say it isn't. Most marketing hounds say that it is, and that the current celebrity (Oprah, etc.) counts on Twitter proves it.

What they are missing - and I think the author of the NY Times article is missing as well - is an entirely new attribute that is present in Twitter (and other social media) that we haven't had before in communications mediums: choice. The users and groups involved can choose to be involved in broadcast mode or niche mode. Or both. Or one mode today, a different one tomorrow. Or niche with this group, and broadcast with that one.

In the TV age, this would be like someone not only being able to choose the programming that comes onto their TV, but also which commercials to receive, if any at all. Then, throw in the ability to talk back to the show producers, writers and actors and to the businesses that are advertising, instantly and with as much group visibility as I want. Wow.

The very fact that I can choose to follow Oprah or not is different than any other broadcast medium before. It isn't the general public that is listening on Twitter, it is the fans, the interested.

As Clay Shirky would say, this level of choice isn't just more, it's different. The emergent effects of these new dynamics are quite unknown, and I agree with Marsha: to assume that you can predict or understand the emergent effects of these very different new networks is a big mistake. Curiously watching while joyfully participating is the fastest way to mastery and understanding, as we all figure this new thing out together.

22 Apr19:23

In some ways, Twitter is no

By Bruce Kasanoff (not verified)

In some ways, Twitter is no different than snail mail or email; it can serve a valuable purpose - communication - but it can also be misused. Junk mail is junk mail, no matter how it is delivered.

Intelligence is: 1. Having something of potential value to say, and 2. Having a good sense who will value what you have to say. If you broadcast your breakfast menu to 10,000 people, that's not smart. But if you broadcast safe evacuation routes to 10,000 people trying to escape a hurricane, that's very smart.

 
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