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Anti-Social

I got into a fight with my friend in public the other day.

horses

OK, not so much a fight, as a discussion. And when I say ‘in public’ I mean on my Facebook wall.

It all started when I retweeted @anarchivist (see below) and then it ended up on my Facebook page too. Anyway, the ‘discussion’ played out like this:

ME: I agree. RT @anarchivist hates the phrase “social media.” all online media is inherently social even if you dont want it to be.

Ben: to be social is to have an understanding or acknowledgment between two or more people. so then simply watching a movie on line would not be considered social but definitely media.
Wed at 2:33pm

ME: but what if you can comment and/or share that video with your friends using FB, Twitter, etc?
Wed at 2:41pm

Ben: that is social. but watching the movie and commenting on it are two separate things. right?
Wed at 2:56pm

ME: but the fact that it exists online DOES mean that. The fact that it has potential to be shared makes it social.
Wed at 3:50pm

The argument ended there. But did I win it?

Let’s take a look at what good old Wikipedia has to say:

Social media is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. Social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content; it’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.

I agree with Ben that the simple act of watching a video online is not social. But because of the way the web had evolved,  now any media that exists online can be social media, whether it was intended to be used that way or not. An article, picture, or video is posted and you can share it numerous ways (email it, Facebook it, Twitter it, Digg it, etc.)

Or is my friend right? Are they two completely different things? Maybe the real question here is why are we so eager to label everything? The IMA is always on the look out for cutting edge ways to interact with with the public. Call them trends, call them buzzwords, call them The Next Big Thing… we’ve employed just about every ‘social media’ tactic that makes sense (and it’s working!)  So maybe it doesn’t matter and if it works, it works.

I’m not sure why anarchivist’s statement and the resulting debate got me so riled up, but maybe the ‘anythings possible’ sentiment of ‘all online media is social media’ simply gives me the warm-fuzzies.

Please comment below and help me prove my friend wrong, er… help us sort things out so we can look each other in the eye again.

best buds

Filed under: New Media, Technology

9 Responses to “Anti-Social”

  • avatar
    Rebecca Says:

    I can only say that I *hope* watching a movie online isn’t and never will be social media — I just want to keep that nostalgic history of having to physically go to a theatre with other people in order for watching a movie to qualify as “Social”.

  • avatar

    The act of watching of movie isn’t necessarily social, just like the act of reading a book isn’t social on its own. Beyond online media, information, be it data or documents is fundamentally social because it can be shared; giving you a photocopy of a journal article is not fundamentally different to giving you a link to a video on Artbabble. John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid write about this in The Social Life of Information (chapter 7?), about our need to still have shared cultural experiences; Brown and Duguid’s belief seems to be that people switched to sharing links. Social media doesn’t need to be focused on fostering your own online community or participating in an existing one. Putting something online puts it out there for everyone in the Online Community to share – that, in my mind, makes everything online fundamentally social.

  • avatar

    My take on it…

    The problem is the relation between “social” and… erm… “location”. An anthropological “space” is devoid of established social structures. Sure, we could all turn up and chat somewhere out in the open and be involved in social interactions, but the temporality returns it to a “space”.

    A anthropological “place” has the social expectations associated with it. Of course, this depends on scale. Your home is a place, the road to work is mostly likely space, your office building is a place etc. But the same could said about the office building. Your desk in a place, but the corridor could be space.

    The problem with the definition come with what Augé called a “non-place”, in short, a place that acts in part like a space by giving no associations to the social contexts. He liked to use airports as an example. We know there is a place called an airport, but it acts as an “stop” on our journey, like a timed barrier as we travel through a space.

    The Internet is definately a non-place. And non-place social structures are dependent upon the efforts of people and not much to do with the enviroment/surroundings. It’s there, you’re there. Not much more going on between the two. So any social structure being “pontentially” there doesn’t make it happen, or used. Social-Potential in a non-place doesn’t make social, I’m afriad. In a place? Sure. Build an entire school, it still has a social construct inherent.

    In short, I feel Ben is right, it is two seperate things, because in a non-place we can be social or not dependent upon our own actions, not the ability or expectation to do so.

    Then again, you’re right in a different, maybe cultural, context. If it’s online, it’s very likely to be shared somewhere to someone. I figured its unlikely to not make an impact online.

  • avatar
    Lance Cordill Says:

    Kate, why was so much energy invested on this topic in the first place? But, since you asked and are a Facebookie with me:

    To me, social-media is all about nothing (http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081210/EDITORIAL/812100343).

    It takes away from intimately being abloe to connect to your fellow human being by creating an artificial barrier. Plus, thoose who rely on social media as their primarty source of communication with the outside world tend to be clueless as to what any current state of affairs is beyond the scope of their eyes, ears and fingertips!

  • avatar
    Lance Cordill Says:

    Kate, why was so much energy invested on this topic in the first place? But, since you asked and are a Facebookie with me:

    To me, social-media is all about nothing (http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081210/EDITORIAL/812100343).

    It takes away from intimately being able to connect to your fellow human being by creating an artificial barrier. Plus, those who rely on social media as their primarty source of communication with the outside world tend to be clueless as to what any current state of affairs is beyond the scope of their eyes, ears and fingertips!

  • avatar
    Lightnin' Says:

    To simplify things, a movie (i.e. Hollywood production) media can be “social” media but can be viewed alone, therefore, is merely just “media”. Once it’s viewed or discussed with someone else, it’s considered “social media” because of the social interaction that the media has spurred.
    The term “social media” as it’s used today reflects largely on the modern use of YouTube, Flickr, or any written publication.
    Caveat: A written publication, by default, is a social media because it’s an article written by a person and another person is reading it, which makes it, technically, a social media. As is this comment and your blog.
    When it comes down to it, there is much of a grey area to deal with when dealing with the semantics and definition that is social media. My suggestion is that you and Ben just agree to differ on your interpretation.

  • avatar
    Kyle Says:

    I like the debate regarding intent of the information that is being shared. It seems intent is a focal point of how someone is basing their opinion. Would news be considered social as well? It allows people to interact with others after watching/reading/hearing said information. Just a thought I wanted to throw out there to add more “turmoil” to the conversation.

    I would say to Lance that this is not a waste of time at all. If he felt that way, why did he even respond? And I don’t agree with the fact that people use this to avoid talking to others, just the opposite. I find that many friends are using social media to re-connect to people or connect with others around the world. It’s a way to achieve more culture when time, money and distance are major obsticles. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule but to say that it’s nothing is narrow minded. I would say that it only increases awareness of people around you.

  • avatar
    Ben Says:

    Wow i never thought that this little “debate” rather, would spark up such a discussion; however, I figured I would put one more schtickle of thought onto this topic.

    It is my personal belief, (and possibly the belief of others like my self)I only will speak for my self, that all media, be it online or in a theature, T.V., etc, was created to be somewhat of a vessle for socialness (not social in itself) in the scence that media less interactive (like a movie) is meant to be talked about before, durring, and especially afterwards.

    In the big picture this is how society has come to be what we are today and how our society will continue to live and grow. Ideas are shared through media which fuels politics, society, and essentially the building blocks of life.

  • avatar
    ejly Says:

    Of course merely watching a movie is social, if the system that you use to watch the movie watches you watching it and reports on that. Additionally the media provides basis for future social interactions as the watcher relates info about the move at a later date to the watcher’s social circle.

    Opting out of that reporting is essential if desired, but not necessarily anti-social.

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