The big idea is: For those native to social media, there’s isn’t necessarily a big difference between our close-knit personal friends and our strongest business/online relationships. The people who will go to bat for us no matter what are our people. Doesn’t matter how we came to know them. Or where we talk to them most frequently.
I’m confident that if I was sick and needed soup, I could Tweet just such a mopey request and a number of someones would come to my aid. I know that because I would do the same for lots of people I’m connected to – even some I’ve never directly met.
I’ve often tried to explain this dynamic to spectators or adopters.
They ask: Isn’t Twitter just a bunch of people saying what they ate for dinner?
(Incidentally: a ridiculously good PB&J from Café Apropos)
And, I say: No, people use it lots of different ways. Primarily, they form ad hoc groups for socializing, sharing ideas or just supporting one another in everyday-tough situations.
They look at me quizzically. I try again.
Here are a few of the ways I use social media:
- To make my city smaller: Lots of Columbus people participate in social media – on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Getting to know them here lets me connect with a broader range of people than I might otherwise encounter. It helps me find new places, events and things worth checking out – and, ensures I’ll know someone when I get there. It’s knowing and being known in my adopted hometown.
- To give and take ideas and resources: I read a lot. But, there’s so much information out there, I could never even hope to get to 1% of it. Online, I share links and mini reviews of my favorite content and count on my network to do the same. Together, we’re like a sassy high school debate team of data.
- To know my friends in more personal ways: I have friends I haven’t seen in years who I feel closer to than some of the people I see every day. I watch their lives unfold online. Hear their small victories and complaints. Laugh at what they did have for dinner or what awful thing their trainer said to them. It’s what the New York Times calls ambient intimacy – that easy sense of knowing someone that comes from being a small, ongoing part of their lives (instead of just getting the big Christmas-letter download)
- And, it’s true: I use Twitter instead of a ladder. My ladder weighs at least 60 pounds. The thing is wicked configurable and nearly impossible to lug up the stairs. So when I have to change a light bulb in some lofty location, I climb on something totally inappropriate to the task (hamper, bar stool, and, once, a kitty condo tower). But, first, I tweet that I’m about to do something dumb & if I’m not heard from in 10 minutes to please send for help.
About the T-shirt: Threadless has this great new online Twitter store featuring shirts with crowdsourced Tweets. Submit one or buy one here.