Unlocking The New Societal Media


[Harvard Business Review] Most of the general public — answer the question, “What does social media mean to you?” with “It’s stuff that helps you make ‘friends, digitally!! Do you want to be my friend?”

“Sure” I usually reply. And then I say: “But thinking of social tools that way is a little bit like using a positronic brain multiplier from the 25th century to tie your shoelaces faster. Here’s a more powerful, resonant — and disruptive — way to think about social media. At the end of the day, conceiving of it purely as tools to help people build larger quantities of less and less meaningful, potent, relevant “relationships” is to minimize its potential — and that might just be exactly what’s holding you back. Think of the “social” in social media the way economists use the word: to represent society. The right function of “social” tools is to give yesterday’s creaking, rusting institutions social — as in societal — significance. Social doesn’t just mean friends — it means society.”

The untapped capacity to create significance (and all the stuff that follows on from it — higher purpose, a sense of meaning, animating passion, intrinsic motivation) has never been more important. Read more

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