Sunday, July 31, 2011

Does Social Media have a soul?

I spend a lot of time online reading tech blogs (e.g. TechCrunch, Mashable) - trying to keep up with the latest and hottest apps and web 2.0 companies... and I always have the same feeling when I am done reading the posts --- it's a feeling of emptiness. It's like when your starving and you eat a whole bag of potato chips, and realize the empty calories didn't satisfy you. Or is it worse???  I don't know... but I feel like we have sold our soul to "click economy".

What is the "Click Economy"??? It's what drives Silicon Valley. It's what motivates entrepreneurs. It's driven by the collective ego of the Internet - where the one who dies with the most clicks...wins.

Does anyone find this ironic??? Social Media is making us less human?  Don't get me wrong, I am not arguing that Social Media makes us less social (I do believe it helps bring people together like no other medium in history)..... I am talking about being "human". I am talking about what makes us unique - our ability to devote our lives to improve the lives of everyone. I am talking about compassion. I am talking about making the world a better place.

It seems every new company I read about is turning us into mice ... clicking for cheese. The applications help us book tickets easier, or help us find where we parked, or helps us "shop better".... really??? Is this what the greatest minds coming out of Stanford working on??? Shopping?

Are the Einsteins of our generation focused on creating the next best App for the IPhone??? or are they working on projects that will change our world for the better?

Unfortunately I think the bright minds are sucked into the Click Economy - lured by the collective conscious of Silicon Valley all chanting in unison "How many clicks can you get us?"

And when I say "change the world".... I am talking about simple things that improve the way we live as a society. I am not expecting anyone to spend their life trying to cure a disease or map the human genome.... I am talking about apps that actually help humanity. Applications that make us better people... make us human.

Instead of building applications that help us get the "best deals".... perhaps we could launch companies that help us find community projects that we can participate or support.  Instead of "group buying" perhaps we can find ways of getting people to gather in groups to help get out the vote.  Instead of "checking in" to get a badge - maybe we could "check-in" and the business would donate a dollar to charity. I realize there are a few companies out there that are doing good things... but it's too few.

Why can't social media be socially responsible? Why has our "value" as people been reduced to a click. Why can't every company give something back to the universe - if not out of good will - at least out of the interest of self-preservation. If the "click economy" continues without a soul - it will die. And we will all be left with nothing.

Are we mice? or are we human?


kallesti said...

A soul? No. Merely a simulation of one. The Internet is a strange thing...bringing us closer in communications while driving our emotions apart. If 70% or something of our communication is non-verbal, then we lose a lot online. You cannot trust 100% how you read a person's post as you cannot see all they are trying to communicate. Are we mice? No. Are we men? No. Merely a simulation...just a small portion of who we really are.

Richard Lucas said...

Maybe my view is simplistic but social media has no soul, no personality, no value, no values without the people who populate it. Their souls, values and personalities imprint in tweets and status updates. If they are giving and caring, social media can be giving and caring. If they are selfish and narcissistic FB and G+ will be that way too.

Social media is a mirror that we aim at ourselves. If we don't like what we see there then we should look in upon ourselves to see how we can be better. Reflect on it. Meditate on it. Pray on it. Then change it... one person at a time.

Add your light to the sum of light.

barefoot muse said...

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