There are many who will claim that social media and all this Internet 2.0 stuff is bad. Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains fears that all this online activity is making our brain operate like the Internet itself—with faster, ever-more distracted multitasking.
Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor, went further. He talked about how multitasking—walking and talking, eating and reading, texting while watching TV—is making us inefficient, distracted, and hurting our memory.
Of course there is no end to the list of things that were destined to destroy society and business but did not.
Professor Robin Dunbar at Oxford asserts you can only really have 150 friends defined as people with whom you have a personalised relationship, one that is reciprocal and based around general obligations of trust and reciprocity. If you asked them to do a favour, they would be more likely to say yes than those outside the 150 (what we at ExecTec call the Bronwyn Ride to Airport Test or BRAT for short).
To all this I say balderdash! Further, I propose that listening to any of this drivel is sure to do you harm. They said the four minute mile could not be broken and they said we could not break the sound barrier, these are sell imposed constraints and we will believe them to our detriment.
Consider in a report released today by public relations firm Edelman which asserts of all entertainment sectors, only social networking sites have retained their value in the eyes of consumers over the past year. The report shows that the perceived value consumers are getting from the entertainment industry has fallen by 68 percent in all areas, and only 17 percent of all respondents feel that entertainment sources today provide “very good” or “excellent” value.
The answer to some degree is in Professor Dunbar’s research which explores why gossip is good for us. His view is that language allows us to integrate a large number of social relationships and one important means of doing this is through the exchange of information about individuals who are not present.
Ultimately the draw of real interactions out weighs the value of static entertainment to some degree. Time spent on interacting with a broader if necessarily less likely to reach BART status is still more fulfilling.
So what does this mean to the individual executive or business as far as participation in the current social media expansion?