It is no surprise that I have been thinking a lot about the scale of our social networks and connections, the velocity with which news and media travel and the impact this has on our relationships both 'offline' and online. There are lots of articles (the backlash begins) on how all these tools actually detract from relationships and are time sucks etc etc. But what the pundits/writers fail to recognize is what is going on underneath all this activity and the flexibility of all these tools enables people to put their own stamp on how they choose to use them.
One size does not fit all
My friend and former colleague Anil once said it best; "blogs don't get people fired, people get people fired'. This was in response to the flurry of articles about the dangers of blogging as a result of the few few people who had gotten themselves fired because of what they wrote on their blogs. The same holds true for social networks, social media, blogs, wikis, videoblogging, liveblogging, microblogging, shoutcasting, yadda yadda yadda.
It is not the tools but how you choose to use them
This week's Picnic cross-media event (it is SO much more than a conference) in Amsterdam is a wonderful case study in how all these networks collide and how social media tools at its core can serve to enhance (not detract) relationships and community. Alas, I could attend this year's event due to prior commitments, but I got to watch from afar.
Originally uploaded by Guido van Nispen.