Everywhere you turn it seems as everyone is taking about social media. What is social media? Most simply put, social media is a medium designed for the purpose of social interaction. It is a web-based and mobile technology that turns communication into interactive dialogue with no constraints on geography. It uses highly accessible and scalable communication techniques.
These Internet-based applications build on the ideological and technological foundations that allow the creation and exchange of user generated content or what is most commonly called Web 2.0. The common theme through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.
Social media is used daily by millions of people around the world to report on all things great and small. Social media has played some role in the overturn of regimens around the world and as a major source of communication in the middle of a major disaster. It is a powerful tool controlled by no one person and available to all. The ultimate I suppose you could say to a democratic being.
I first heard of the term “immersion internet” at a conference I spoke at last week…get this title…The Federal Consortium of Virtual Worlds…oh my! One of the speakers Mk Haley, an amazing young woman, who spoke of where we are now and where we are going and the room seemed to jettison through space at warp speeds. As the name implies, the next generation of internet is that which completely surrounds you, in all possible ways.
To that end I would highly draw your attention to a report by the Pew Research Center on The Future of Internet III…old by current standards, released in December 2008 but if you are new to this party, it will enlighten you! Here is a brief summary…
The Future of Internet III
Here are the key findings on the survey of experts by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that asked respondents to assess predictions about technology and its roles in the year 2020:
- The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.
- The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.
- Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
- Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing arms race, with the crackers who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
- The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.
- Next-generation engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.
The Pew Report is available at http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/The-Future-of-the-Internet-III.aspx
I just came upon a great blog on the issue of Social Media and Emergency Management. It has some very interesting postings. Check it out:
Idisaster 2.0Social Media and Emergency Management http://idisaster.wordpress.com/
Lastly I would say, don’t fall asleep and don’t tell yourself that this doesn’t matter or is only for young people…this is a tsunami wave coming towards us at a rapid rate and those of us in the field of emergency management and continuity planning need to understand it and embrace it.