Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Social Media: Hurricane Irene, Givvy and Mashable

I jumped on Twitter (and Facebook, for that matter) November 30, 2009.  Family and friends immediately asked "Twitter? Do you really care what Ashton Kutcher has for lunch?" I had something else in mind. I wanted to test my hypothesis about using Twitter to drive B2C demand (specifically prepared food) during offpeak hours. I thought using twitter to drive demand was possible and in fact it's being done in L.A. The experiment failed in my laboratory of choice. I came out a big winner, though. I made friends with Twitter and in so doing connected with many wonderful mentors and friends along the way. I still don't care what Ashton Kutcher has for lunch, but that's social media. It can be a wonderful tool or an irrelevant doodad. This point was driven home Saturday, as Hurricane Irene began it's New England coastal tour.

Source: Mashable
I found two post on Mashable that caused immediate response. One post got a bravo, the other post a "so?" but it was the juxtaposition of the post that is my source of commentary. The bravo went to a post about Foursquare being used to find evacuation centers in New York during Hurricane Irene. Social media to save lives, yeah! The "so?" went to a post that included a write-up about Givvy, a Facebook gift finding application. Social media for giving cool gifts, okay?

Genie Says, "You Only Get Three."
There's nothing wrong with using social media to find great gifts. There's nothing wrong with using social media to follow Aston Kutcher's lunch menu. It's just that it's like using one of three genie wishes to get ahead in line at McDonald's. I am taken aback at using such a powerful tool for something so mundane. Friends, there is simply more to life.

Find Your Comfort Zone.
Social media can be used to do many good things or it can be used to accomplish nothing at all. And if I wanted to be a heavy handed yutz, I would say "Social Media is an excellent metaphor for life.", but I left my sledgehammer at my other laptop. It's always going to be about striking a balance between the sacred (finding a shelter in a hurricane) and the profane (finding a wall salmon that sings Puccini for an opera loving fishing afficionado). Oh and if you want to know what I'm having for lunch don't follow me on Twitter. That's what Google+ is for.

What uses of social media do you find amazing? Silly? A great big waste?

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