Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Let me say it again: social media is not new

I've done a good deal of research with users about why they contribute online, and a lot of time they say it's because, at that very moment, they were passionate about something. That's my blogging philosophy as well. And this quote (which I just read on Robert Scoble's blog) stopped me in my tracks.

From Steve Ballmer in the Times Online:
I think these things [social networks] are going to have some legs, and yet there’s a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people.”

Can we stop with this nonsense? Please?

Not to point out the obvious, but many MySpace and Facebook users are over 30. And there are numerous social networks targeted to Boomers--look at Eons, or Gather. Or look at one of the most successful communities of all time, The WELL, which started in the 80s and attracted an active audience of adults.

Here's a little primer for you Mr. Ballmer. This by no means shows the extent of online communities over the years, but it does show a continuum. What's not on here? The cybernetic movement of the 1940's let by Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, and the Pragmatist thinkers who came before them, folks like Charles Pierce who talked about how knowledge must be social.

So please Mr. Ballmer, do your research before making comments that don't make sense.

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