The English language may not be up to web 2.0.
Social media sounds better than the shorthand for “user generated media” “user generated content” and “user created content” doesn’t it? TPFKATA is kinda funny (who doesn’t enjoy a joke at the expense of his Purpleness?) and makes a brilliant point, but looks like part of the problem. Edglings and centroids sounds very sci fi to me, and a bit over the top to boot. What is really going on here?
We are people thinking, feeling, writing, photographing, filming, and sharing what we do — we just happen to be using the web for all that now. That’s what’s going on.
Derek Powazek’s rant awhile back on hating the word “user” was spot on. I don’t think of myself as a flickr user, I’m a photographer. I’m not a LibraryThing user, I’m a book nerd. When I hit the publish button in WordPress, I’m a blogger. Calling everything I do, everything millions of others are doing, “content” obscures the point. Stories, and the connections they make possible, are the point. Stories are what we are, and how we learn about what we can be.
As if this whole hairy mess of acronyms wasn’t enough, we’ll soon have Dandelife to contend with. Fitting, if you ask me, that the name is associated with a weed. At its core, it aims to turn my stories and your stories — if permission is granted, of course — into corporate branding moments.
Is nothing sacred? I wouldn’t want The Accidental Rifle to be used by Fedex, or this birthday wish appropriated by Hallmark. I love my PowerBook, but the stories I tell about it aren’t for Apple (or Microsoft or Lenovo). I don’t want, or need, to make a buck off every single thing I do. Some of the advisors to this train wreck in progress surprise me: Ross Mayfield (Mr Wiki) and Zeldman (Mr Web Standards). Guys, just because you can build something doesn’t mean you should. In principle, how different is this idea from the blog posts for hire scheme? Not very.
Social media is just a concise, academic term for what people have always done, and that is say, “hey, look at this.” “Hey, look at this” is now digital, so it has seemingly infinite reach. It has traceable connections. It can be amplified. Finally, on a global scale, we can answer back. We can answer back, and we’re fascinated by the roaring cacophony.
Because stories are what we have. Not monetizable acronyms.