“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”


A quote from an actor who plays more uncool characters onscreen than he does cool ones.  That is Philip Seymour Hoffman.

His observation couldn’t be any more true when discussing Social Media.

The Internet, which was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year ( http://blogs.zdnet.com/gadgetreviews/?p=12119 ) has been responsible for “the great levelling” as discussed in one of the best documentaries on the subject I have watched: The Virtual Revolution

It is no surprise that the series was developed by the BBC, who recently published a poll from their BBC World Service, the findings were that almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8548190.stm

We know that in North America the internet has been widely received, but how has the penetration been in the rest of the world?

Woork up published an article on internet penetration using figures from the first half of 2010 here:

They followed it up with a 2010 report on the subject of internet censorship:

What was most interesting from their findings was the following:

“Moreover, in many cases, the censorship is not limited to filter the information accessible via the web but it also becomes a tool used by governments to fight their opponents.”

That’s a scary thought.

In the 4 part series “The Virtual Revolution” Dr. Aleks delves into how an estimated 130 million blogs have fundamentally altered the political landscape.  Instead of a top down controlled environment, communications emerge from below and transparency, immediacy, and accountability have no option but to come along for the ride.

“Revolution happens when it cannot be contained by status quo institutions”

That is the assertion made in Clay Shirkly’s book: “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations”:

The following is Publishers Weekly’s summary of the book:

“Blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 accoutrements are revolutionizing the social order, a development that’s cause for more excitement than alarm, argues interactive telecommunications professor Shirky. He contextualizes the digital networking age with philosophical, sociological, economic and statistical theories and points to its major successes and failures.

Grassroots activism stands among the winners—Belarus’s flash mobs, for example, blog their way to unprecedented antiauthoritarian demonstrations. Likewise, user/contributor-managed Wikipedia raises the bar for production efficiency by throwing traditional corporate hierarchy out the window. Print journalism falters as publishing methods are transformed through the Web. Shirky is at his best deconstructing Web failures like Wikitorial, the Los Angeles Times’s attempt to facilitate group op-ed writing. Readers will appreciate the Gladwellesque lucidity of his assessments on what makes or breaks group efforts online: Every story in this book relies on the successful fusion of a plausible promise, an effective tool, and an acceptable bargain with the users. The sum of Shirky’s incisive exploration, like the Web itself, is greater than its parts.”

A video that compliments this book perfectly is “We Think” which uses visuals of a pyramid to symbolize a top down structure and compares it to a birds nest to show a collaborative structure:

We Think is actually based off a book of the same name ( http://www.wethinkthebook.net/home.aspx ) by author Charles
Leadbeater  ( http://www.charlesleadbeater.net/home.aspx ).  Like the video the book explores the potential of the latest developments of the internet.  The first 3 chapters are available for free using the link above.

The most important thing that stuck out to me was the following statement:

“in the past you were what you owned, now you are what you share”

Which immediately reinforces Seneca’s assertion that “There is no delight in owning anything unshared.”

So the questions naturally turn to what do you share, with whom, and ultimately how?

With a focus on helping medium and large companies socialize and centralize their communications between people, applications and data Socialcast, based in San Francisco, leads the industry in humanizing collaboration inside a company by developing and deploying software solutions.

They see the hesitation towards Social Media, and often at the executive level where they are pitching their solutions.

In a recent infographic they put out on how Executives are using Social Media the following are the reasons they gave for the hesitation:


All 3 of these reasons rang a bell when reviewing how the town of Aurora overlooked any implementation strategies for Social media under the MorMac regime.

I wrote a letter about it in this week’s Auroran, you can read it here:

Download this file

I wholeheartedly agree with Erik Qualman, who said :

“With social media it’s not a choice whether you DO social media, the choice is how well you DO it.”

How well you do it depends on your strategy, and the Advanced Human Technologies group has posted a very good framework for developing a social media strategy here:  http://ahtgroup.com/services/social-media-strategies

Additionally Fred Cavazza has published a fantastic infographic on the social media landscape here:

It certainly helps when you see a bunch of services all mapped out and classified like this, without this I’m sure to an it can look very large and unmanageable.

But that is in part because it is.

If there’s one thing to gain from all this, its that there is no one tool to rule them all.

Looking for one is a desperate and futile act.

A revolution has happened, one which there is no reverse.

Like everywhere else in the world, here in Aurora the virtual and the real collide on a daily basis, and will do so increasingly.

Aristotle may not have been around in a time where the tools were available to achieve the participation level required, nonetheless he believed:

“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.”

Fellow Aurorans,

Dare to be uncool.  Let mediocrity howl in protest.

Share yourself, share your tools, share your voice.

The first rule about Social Media Club is to talk about Social Media Club.


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