For as much as I’ve learned about connectivity using social media, I’ve learned just as much about disconnection and apathy. I am admittedly a news junkie and if I could, I’d be hooked up to NPR all day. It’s information that educates, that informs that tells me what is happening in the world. Today is not a good day – people are being violently assaulted because they have an opinion.
What’s different about today? In some parts of the world, today is about disruption. Not the industry specific kind that comes about as a result of technology. That’s what is so sad. The very tools referenced in ‘Groundswell‘ by Forrester Research executives Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, that emphasize emerging social technologies, also show a disinterested, audience who may feel what’s happening in Turkey right now “Doesn’t effect me!” Facebook doesn’t show many posts in my network, even though I’m connected to several journalists and otherwise empathetic people.
What started out as a protest to stop bulldozing of Gezi Park, an open green space, turned into scenes of activists being hosed down by military in what looked like open warfare. In the instant when violence breaks out, social media works well to transmit images, video and twitter feeds, but in a long view, of civil unrest, where does social media contribute to telling the whole story?
It’ s only when a bomb goes off in Boston, or a giant structure like the the World Trade Center, falls down, or a hurricane torn town out west do networks light up with 24-hour coverage and Red Cross calls for help. After the crisis, traditional media such as broadcast cable television or a documentary video seems to do a better job. I want to know what the outcome is as much as I react to the immediate devastation.
There’s room for both technologies – traditional corporation models like broadcast media, and newer, more instant communications of social media. There shouldn’t be an either, or. Each fills a purpose and together would serve the public as well as the stockholder. That business model is not an optimist’s hopeless dream, but a realist in a real world possibility.