Darren Barefoot, “recovering technical writer”
User-generated content is not new…Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was reconstructed based on a sketch made by a random Dutch person who attended a play at a contemporary theater and drew a sketch.
Most of human history is “few-to-few” communication. Humans sitting around the camp fire and grunting.
Then came broadcast media: “few-to-many” communications.
But now, we have “balkanization” and “diversification.” The model is now “many-to-many” communication.
(I have a very similar discussion in our Web 2.0 white paper. Link below.)
Free and cheap tools (blogging software, cheap digital cameras) have made “many-to-many” communication possible. This is sometimes called the “rise of the creative class.” People are shifting from being consumers to creators.
Seven concepts that differentiate social media:
- conversation…two-way communication rather than a broadcast model
- collaboration…obvious example is Wikipedia
- sharing…micro-broadcasting, perhaps just to family and friends
- scope…column inches and 42-minute hours on television are gone. Tools are easy, distribution is easy; don’t need to be constrained by traditional approaches.
- Community…we are constructing affinity groups, which can be “thin-sliced.” Can gather together in ways that were never possible before because geography is eliminated as a constraint.
- Transparency and authenticity…blogging and social media tend to encourage these. However, both of these are perhaps problematic. Examples: LonelyGirl and FakeSteveJobs. Perhaps these are less critical than before?
Social media components (the usual):
- Video Streaming
- virtual Worlds
- Social Bookmarking
- and more
Who make social media? “the people formerly known as the audience”
Why do people blog?
- Talk to friends and family
- keep personal history
- experiment with technology
- practice writing
- make change
- follow trend
- and more
Corporate blogging is a tiny slice of social media.
Great video on Wikis in Plain English
More examples of social media being used for technical documentation tasks.
Very interesting presentation, with quite a bit of intersection with our Web 2.0 white paper (PDF, 1.7 MB). (Sorry to keep linking to it, but this is clearly the current hot topic.)