Sunday, July 6, 2008

Social Media - will it be made up of atoms or stories?

While reading the Young PR blog, I came across a post showing a photo of a New York Library street tile. On it, there is a quote by Muriel Rukeyser, who said, "The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."

As my engagement with the online world has been increasing at a rapid pace, I have started to contemplate the impact that social media will have in my life and the way we take in information and communicate it to others. I find myself wondering, will our interaction with social media help us to create stories or will we merely consume tiny atoms of ideas?

Consider this daily routine: Open a browser. Click to Twitter. Myspace. Facebook. Track an RSS feed. Read a blog or two -- or 20.
..Get lost in the network. Sound familiar? Even talking about all of the social networking platforms sounds disjointed. As entertaining and informative as blogs and social networks can be, they can also turn into Internet channel surfing, leading to nothing more than distractions.

And then there are those blogs that inspire you and prompt you to contribute to the discourse. There are the exciting moments when you think (in the back of your mind) how amazing it is to be connected to people all across the world who want to discuss the same little threads of conversation that you do. There is a sense that the Internet has an endless potential to connect us and take communication to the next level.

Connection should be at the center of all communication. It is the motivating factor behind telling stories, sharing photos, listening to your friends' latest band-discovery, and understanding what's going on all over the world. Telling stories about who we are, what we desire, where we go, when we have new information, and why and how we are here is the reason we create social networks in the first place. Applied to social media, a mission of creating connection will make the atoms fade into the distance and the stories come to life.

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