There’s been a lot of talk about social media lately. It’s hit the mainstream and all of the sudden Twitter and Facebook and their cousins are showing up in all kinds of places from CNN to Vitamin Water commercials. The buzz around social media being the next big thing is getting, well, a bit obnoxious. While it’s added more information and communication to my life, it hasn’t fundamentally changed it for the better or worse.

Gareth Kay wrote a great op-ed piece for Agency Spy that got me thinking. It’s all about having a conversation instead of a lecture. What’s interesting is that social media seems to be becoming less and less about having a conversation with everyone, more anti-social in a sense. A few sites I’ve come across recently have pointed that way for me:

  • HP came out with Gabble recently. As the New York Times puts it, the NotForYouTube. Essentially, it’s a social media site that limits the social. The user controls who sees their video and the scope of the conversation. Instead of seeing how many hits you can get to become the internet star of tomorrow, it lets you have a conversation.
  • Another site I’ve learned about (thanks to my wife Shannon) is Yammer. Essentially, instead of using Twitter to have a public discourse about the mundane details of your life, Yammer is about a closed circle of co-workers having a private conversation. 

Subtle inward twists on ideas that are typically used to broadcast and all of the sudden social media is more about using technology to converse than finding a way to self-broadcast. When you look at sites like these in combination with the forthcoming Google Voice, it’s becoming clearer to me that the social media revolution is going to be more of a shift in how we have conversations than a revolution in what we’re saying.

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