Norman Ng

Social Media Passports for Netizen Societies?

In Social Media on October 3, 2011 at 12:11

So, in the immense hours spend on social media communications, I think quite a fair bit of folks have earned adequate brownie points to seriously think about denouncing their existing nationalities and form new netizen identities, of course with social media passports to boot.Unthinkable? Not so much, as I draw inspiration from Burson-Marsteller’s Social Media Infographic on social networks in Asia-Pac. Imagine this – 6 Social Media Continents, consisting of Social Networks, Micro-Blogs, Blog Platforms, Video Sharing Sites, Reference / Collaboration Sites, and Professional Networking Sites, each with its own netizens.

Top Social Networks - Asia Pac 2011 (Burson-Marsteller)

So it’s of course not surprising to see that Social Networking Sites such as Facebook get the largest pie of the netizen population. Strength in numbers? You bet. But how well can we really relate to one another in this new social milieu?

Social media TODAY, has become a way of life. We wake up, check our facebook statuses before the weeklong routines, we tweet everyday life as we commute and move through our paces, we read the news, from toilets to elevators, from mobile devices. Aren’t we new citizens of virtual societies? The significance is not so much in the numbers, rather, from a socio-cultural standpoint, it REVOLUTIONISES the way personal and professional relationships are established, maintained and sustained.

I admit, in the good and open spirit of social media, it has created boundless opportunities in learning, sharing, collaborating etc. I learn more about people, issues and subjects I have never batted my eyelid to understand like never before.

On further reflection, how much can we really understand about people, cultures and issues within a 1280 x 800 pixel wall post on facebook, or a 140 character tweets, or 100 sec youtube videos? Have we developed a high index social culture, with deep and intricate “Social Media Identities”, worthy of forming a new virtual societies?

I have doubts that while we can arrange ourselves with social media presence and identities to relate and communicate, in its current state, the level of intimacy, understanding and relationships will not replace the existing socio-cultural intricacies, not even with the much acclaimed enhancements to Facebook nor launch of Google+. Social Media is in a consolidation phase. It is evolving, making calibrated adjustments to aid us in our communication needs.

So as much excitement and brouhahas are abound with each social media platform’s launch, its important for us to reflect and think hard on how they will impact our lives and society. It is maturing, but not at a stage where it is a high-index social milieu, to overtake existing socio-cultural identities. But then again, no know knows for sure when this revolution will take place..meanwhile, lets cherish our grubby, ink stamped passports while we can.


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