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Histories Of Social Media

IMG00019-20101105-1002 Jonathan Salem Baskin, SNCR Senior Fellow and author, talking about the histories of social media. He writes about marketing on Advertising Age. He used to be in marketing at Blockbuster and Nissan.

Inspiration: Talking with his daughter, about the history of technology, and how he grew up without cell phones, computers and no Facebook. Inspired him to look at the history of social interaction before the Internet and the web.

1950's: Jonathan looked at how social people were in the 1950's. Lot's of civic and fraternal organizations. Primary education, PTA's appeared in the 50's. Self-improvement, ideas and books. Religion and church attendance doubled.

Social Experience is NOT NEW!: Social behavior is not new, in fact its really old stuff. For example, folklore is crowd sourced knowledge. The oral tradition is a wiki.

Questions for the Book: If you took technology out of the equation, what questions are relevant today regarding social experience? Are we renaming what's old? Marketing is just a small part of my experiences in social media. Is the past prologue?

Community: Community used to mean something very different. Medieval villages had walls. Formerly the idea of a community was a place with walls, and if you were part of it. There was a hierarchical order. There was a shared purpose. Communities were filters of the world. Villages were not always sustainable, and begs the question should online communities always be sustainable? Rather they may disband once their purpose has ceased to exist.

Engagement: Looked at the Union Movement in the 19th century. Why did people engage in unions. Engagement was dependent upon the context in which it occurred. People got involved because they felt they had to. The industrial revolution, the context, was more important than what they got out of the engagement. That frames the question for communities today, what do people need to do, rather than what we want them to do. Meaning over opportunity. You could not join the Union Movement without taking on responsibility or having great risk. Today, marketers don't expect community to take responsibility, but in leading theory on community giving people responsibility engages people.

Credibility: Understand truth and credibility. For the faithful, religion had the most credibility. Narrative, you need a story, or is a story. It's also first person. The story is incomplete, and it is getting added to over time. Think about the trail you undertake on Google search.

Crowdsourcing: First chapter he focuses on the Terror. Bread prices do not fall. Throughout history people thought that the crowd destroys traditional authority.  Replaces it with new autocratic while less qualified. Today the bloggers are the same as the old guys (journalists) is that better than what we had before? Lowest common denominator conclusions rarely the best.

The question for me then, if social media and social interaction is not new, what is new?