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April 24, 2008


I've been thinking about this stuff for a long time too. Here's where I've got so far with the Northern UK geek scene:


Hope there's something in there that you and your colleagues can agree with.

Hi. I don't know you. Found your blog through Twitter, which I'm just now trying. Your "we can do more" post nailed it. I walked the floor at Web 2.0 this week and didn't hear/see/feel a single real idea. These folks are all just interested in supporting what they believe remains of the imploded Web 1.0. "Share" "community" and "apps" are just hollow words if they're all just re-branding existing Internet pipes. I was sorely saddened by the lack of innovation. Wish I had something brilliant to offer myself, but they'd probably kill it anyway. Everything gets scorched. Germination of technology barely exists anymore. Rant over. Nice to to meet you. Good to hear someone be real. Thanks and cheers.

Hi Paul and rh 0 thanks for commenting. It's not that what we have today is not good it's just htat we can do SO much more!!

Paul -will check out your blog fer sure.

A good reminder, right after I twittered that I am delayed in an airport! haha Though I usually do use Twitter for other reasons, that personal Twitts. However, I think you bring up some great points on how the brainstorming bubbles for coming up w/ innovative ways to use social media need to expand.


Hi Deborah,
I don't know you either, but found this article through Chris Brogan's link. I'm so glad you've written about this. I've been thinking about it a ton, but have been too lazy, busy or just not sure who/where to best express these things to.

Your friend's quote "never before have so many done so little with so much" really summarizes the problem well. Anyway, here are a few other random thoughts:

1. I'd add spiritual, or at least 'personal transformation', to your list of more meaningful ways to use social media ("business, cultural and political innovation") Though I know of a few sites that are attempting to harness the power of social media for personal transformation (publicly stated goals, accountability, support, etc.) they aren't doing it too well IMHO, nor are people 'buying in'. Infotainment still seems to be the most popular use for social media.

2. It's the beginning of spring here in the Pacific Northwest, things are starting to bloom. Perhaps, I hope, there are some hidden seeds that are about to sprout in the garden of 'action-based social media' as well... (I'm working with a partner on a project that I hope will sprout sometime in the next few months...wink wink.)

3. A concern: One good thing about the fact that Social Media use has mostly been superficial up to now...these tools are still very unevenly distributed in our world. Perhaps it would be dangerous if only the Technorati had access to such powerful tools as we know these could be if used in better ways?

Anyway, gotta get back to some research.


I couldn't agree with you more. There is a sense of hollowness in a lot of the new applications and ideas swirling around the blogosphere.

These "social" tools provided by technology put great opportunity in all of our hands. I wonder, though, if the self referencing nature of the "techie", "geek" or "social media" world is encouraging the adoption of these game changing tools across the wide variety of internet users out there, or is the established tech world's actions building walls instead.

Before we started our organization, we asked ourselves a simple question. How can we use our access to new media to make a difference. Our answer is the budding project called www.watchforchange.com.

Here's to hoping that there is life beyond a superpoke.

Hi, Deb -- I've been thinking about these issues more and more since SXSW. (You and I talked after your panel, you may recall.) And despite my own ability to natter on about almost-nothing on Twitter, I keep recalling what JFK said: "The only reason to give a speech is to change the world."

Blogs, Twitter, etc. aren't exactly "giving a speech" - but they aren't exactly NOT giving a speech, either. And we SHOULD be using them to change the world . . . not just move more widgets in the next quarter.

I'll be interested to see how this conversation develops!

Of course, we all want to live a better life, eradicate disease, eliminate poverty etc. But, what the hell is the big "issue"? You guys are upset because every application is not fundamentally geared to "improving the World"?

Ponder this thought, is it reasonable that for some people, twittering, super poking, widgeting, etc is creating some happiness and harmony in their lives (which is positive energy) and then that harmony is spread through others. When we truly look at the World as a whole we, must open our minds and see the big picture. The World will improve but, the World is as it should be. If you can't accept this, then you are "resisting the universe" as Deepak Chopra would put it.

Now, I am a firm believer in asking what is wrong and how do we fix it. Then, we take actions to fix it as best we can.

If you are on a mission to save the world, that is awesome! But, why can't you "be the change you want to see in the world"

Hi Deborah-

I'm with you! I was inspired after SXSW this past year to begin working on putting together a panel for next year called "Social Media for Social Change". I just launched my new blog yesterday (socialmediaforchange.com) and am looking forward to discovering what else is going on with social media besides airport updates and link-pimping.

Thanks for providing inspiration. It will be interesting to see transpires along the way.

Aronado pointed out an assumption that a lot of people were making vis-a-vis we can do better. I did not mean better as in ONLY social chang, change the world. I even mean better as it relates to business - I mean cmon banner ads running the social web? We can do better - as in better business models, better data portability just - better.

And yes- I do need to be the change i want in the world - which is why I *am* trying to work on better data models and better business models for "web2" or the social web. Do not wnat to see this stuff implode for lack of advertisers..;)

Deborah, I'm glad I found my way to this post.

Not that the problem is unique to 2.0 stuff -- everyone has seen many bandwagons rolling past on any number of technological wheels -- but I do think that early adopters tend to forget that other people (by definition) are not early adopters.

A couple of things flow from that: first, those within two standard deviations of the mean are paying more attention to "what do I need to do?" rather than to "what's new out there?" So, for example, "let's use a wiki for the Berm Divot project" makes no sense to them. There's nothing in it for them. But "there's a way we can track our progress, cut down on email, capture ideas" -- that resonates.

The other notion, and you touch on it, is that most people move more easily from the specific to the general... but they usually need a handful of "specific." So, three solid and sufficiently different examples of ways that a non-techno-geek can put Twitter to work (not "use Twitter") help mere mortals make sense out of what it can do beyond "I'm stuck at the airport" (which is really the twitter equivalent of the early-cell-phone "guess where I'm calling from?").

Hi Deborah,
Would love to hear your responses to the above comments (not just mine)

OK - I could have sworn I responded to this - my follow-up to all commentors - is not so much that I want to use specific tools to change the world in some sort of social cause - it is that it should be an AND that is more than just "stuck in the airport". The MORE and the And depend on what you are passionate about - and to date - unless you are a developer - still to hard to do some of this stuff and using the medium of connecting people to just post photos of ourselves for our own ego gratification is not enough. I guess i am tired of seeing ego rule above everything.

Oh god - maybe I am actually turning Luddite?

Apologize for disappearing and will write back to Leif and Dave personal to apologize.

hi deb just checking my6sense

hi deb, checking my6sense

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