The social media bubble

SocialMediaAn article entitled ‘The social media bubble’ (The Harvard Business Review, 23/03/2010), raises an interesting talking point on social media: what is the real depth of social media relationships?

Although this issue is not new and has been discussed in the past, it is something that worth reconsidering from time-to-time given the growing emphasis that is being placed on social media and also the ever-changing nature of social media and its influence.

The writer argues that social media is ‘largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships’ and goes on to make candid observations about trust, disempowerment, hate, exclusion and value in the context of social media.

The writer provides a counterpoint to the currently prevailing general view of social media, which generally sees this developing media phenomenon by and large as an up-and-coming, strong and effective public relations, marketing and communications resource.

I personally, see the reality of social media somewhere between the two counterpoints and accept that both views offer some home-truths about the real nature of this new growing medium. While some aspects of social media are indeed artificial and weak, and these aspects are clearly identifiable by anyone with a critical mind, in other respects the media is here to stay as a valuable relationship development and maintenance tool both in our private and business lives.

Admittedly, like any other ‘product’ social media, as we know it today, is likely to have a life-cycle of its own and it’s popularity may taper off at some point in the future as we adapt to newer, yet unimaginable, emerging technologies, but in the meantime I suspect that social media will in fact become an even more integrated part of our everyday lives in the foreseeable future.

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