Two friends, Dani Burns and "Mac" MacArthur, are on a social media panel tonight discussing "taming the beast of social media." I have a few thoughts. Namely, don't be a spectator.
That runs counter to our instincts. Like Chauncey Gardner in "Being There," we "like to watch."
Clay Shirky wrote in the recent book "Cognitive Surplus" that Facebook is replacing TV. I think that's true in how and when we spend time. But the medium is not cool. In fact, it's best when heated.
People on Facebook think they want freebies. Sweepstakes and giveaways draw fans in huge numbers. But social media behavior -- such as the building of Wikipedia -- shows that they really want something to work on -- a puzzle, a game, trivia, a discussion, an angry debate. People on Facebook think they want to read and watch cool stuff. They approach it like legacy media. But once they watch the video or read the article, comments reveal that they really want to talk about themselves, while other people talk about themselves.
Posting and commenting is way more fun than watching.
In other words, social media isn't like TV. It's more like the elementary school cafeteria. And that's a good thing. We talk, we act up, we trade stuff. We avoid the boy or girl who used to like us. We're surprised and delighted.
I'll give you my Nilla Wafers for those Pringles.