Social media DOES have an historical and cultural background!

Alan Moore

Alan Moore

Is social media a brand new invention or is it just what we have always done but in a different guise?

Alan Moore, of SMLXL, argued this point at the recent Digital Loungers networking event in London last week, organised by Jay Cooper of Blyk. Alan’s basic point was to set social media within its historical, cultural and socio-economic context, something we too often overlook as advances in technology become ever more swift. For as we know, this new world is no different than that we have always known, just different.  It was dark and difficult to take notes but I will give a list of his points, even if I do not do him service.

Jay Cooper

Jay Cooper

  • There are no straight lines in nature, instead it flows. 
  • We once lived in villages that you never left. Then, in 1968, came experiments with drugs and religion. 
  • Pro-am revolution – we stopped being passive consumers and began to exert control.
  • Alan went to Kuwait, a few years back, and found young men and women communicating through Bluetooth to maintain discretion.
  • YouTube now boasts very professional looking videos made by soldiers during the war in Iraq. Culture has always been stories told by people. In telling stories, we create a sense of time and place. “YouTube now tells folk-stories on steroids”.
  • The Morecambe & Wise TV Christmas Special in the mid-1970s was watched by 29 million people – almost half the UK population. But the end of mass media has occurred.
  • “No more static websites, they are now all made out of widgets”. We live in a search culture now. “You cannot fart without the words ‘social networks’ coming out”.
  • “Social media has become the black gold of the 21st century. But we are still using the ‘furniture of advertising’ in an audio-visual space invented 100 years ago”.
  • The role of advertising has to change. He uses Dyson as an example – how does your brand operate in this space? How do you manage the data, now that, because of social media, data does not just find people for you but they begin to find you as well.
  • How big is the change?
  • The Olympics were watched in China by 150 million people online, 250 streamed videos online and 20 million watched the games on their phones.
  • Just under 30% of Koreans watch TV on their mobiles. 
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About John Welsh

John Welsh has spent his entire working life in business-to-business media, first traditional publishing, having edited three magazines over 14 years, and, second, exhibitions since 2007. He started this blog on 22 June 2008 and ended it on 18 May 2010.
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