I’ve done a lot of thinking since I got back from #140conf12. A lot of thinking. Attendees were challenged on the last day of the two-day event by the event curator Jeff Pulver to try to sum up the event in one sentence. I’ve been turning that question over in my mind ever since.
The tagline for the event, renamed this year ‘The State of Now’, was ‘search for meaning’ and I’ve spent the last few weeks trying looking for meaning, when the answer in plain sight. The question is not only about the event, but is also one that anybody using social media [or the real-time web as Jeff – and I – prefer to call it] should be asking. If you can’t explain why you’re doing it then it begs the question ‘should I be doing it at all?’. Things have started to fall into place in the last few days, but a conversation with a former client and friend today added a few more pieces of the jigsaw.
There are a couple of quotes from movies that I love that sum up the meaning from the real-time web. The first talks about how hard it is to live in the moment – the here and now. With all of the distractions of modern life it’s not easy to be present. The second quote talks about inside every moment there’s another moment… and another moment inside that – everything happening simultaneously. The real-time web is a bit like that – the important stuff, like in life, is inside the moments where people connect – whether its business or personal. Recognizing those moments is where the real meaning of the real-time web can be found.
I wrote a post a few days ago about what social media can learn from radio – about the importance of one-to-one conversations, despite the delivery media being a broadcast [one to many] one. Technology is only an enabler… it creates the moments, the opportunities – the value, or meaning, is about the connection – where people share ideas, solve problems, overcome adversity…
So next time you’re searching for meaning from the real-time web, focus on the moments – the opportunities to be affected, or to affect somebody else’s life. The ability to strike up a conversation with anybody and share a moment with them. To share something special. Despite all of the noise created by the real-time Internet, there are some amazing, life-changing moments to be found – you just have to embrace them when you find them.