An interesting article appeared in the New York Times yesterday. Neal Gabler has determined that our modern society no longer has any profound thoughts to share.
He says, "In effect, we are living in an increasingly post-idea world — a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating them, the Internet notwithstanding. Bold ideas are almost passé."
And can you guess the cause Gabler points to for this downfall? Yes - the Internet. Gabler points out that Facebook and Twitter and the likes give us no reason to have any deep, meditative, inventive thoughts. They just overload us with useless information. Gabler says, sure, we KNOW a lot ... but we don't know much that is worth knowing (for example, my Facebook newsfeed is overrun with "I'm taking the kids to the park today," and "The funniest things happened in church today!"... nothing groundbreaking is shared as the norm). Check out the article here.
However, not everyone agrees with Gabler's assessment. Zeynep Tufecki, an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, says, ""What isolates people is TV, suburbanization, long-commutes, increasing working hours, mandatory two-income families... Not social media." And Chris Gayomali responded to the NY Times article by blogging for Time Magazine that we are too quick to blame the internet for anything and everything.
What does this mean for YCP, and our clients? No doubt, social media has benefited many businesses. For example: if Snuggle or DiGornio is offering a coupon on their Facebook page, I will instantly "Like" their page and allow my newsfeed to follow them to get the savings they are offering. A theatre in Florida recently ran a promotional event via Facebook for their summer production of "Annie": everyone who posted a picture with a cast member to the theatre's Facebook page was entered into a contest to win tickets to another upcoming show. I would say these are successful uses of social media to enhance business.
At YCP, we try to stay connected to our clients by letting them check in on/be informed by us through social media and our blog (which, ahem, you are reading right now).
So what do you think? Is social media ruining our ability to say anything worth saying, or is the internet a scapegoat for a generation that wants things to be the way they've always been ....?