We Are Who Made the Media Social

Today I have 668 friends on Facebook, over 1600 followers on Twitter and 30 fans on Delicious…but I tell you: I’m not that social!

Saying that social media makes people more social is like saying Macdonald’s Happy Meal makes children more happy! It depends on consumer, who wants to be social wile using media or becoming happy after having the meal.

Therefore, we cannot say that we were less  social before the sweeping popularity of social media platforms, simply because we are the media makers, journalists and TV producer job is to create content according to our demand, otherwise we will not consume it. I’m sure Facebook was not to appear if Mark Zuckerberg didn’t find his colleagues need a web utility to socialize, they were already social, the new media tool just shaped the way they socialize.

If we look to our life before social media, we would find that we did ‘bookmark’, ‘share’, ‘like’ and ‘Retweet’ things without being online. I remember when The Bold and the Beautiful was screened in Egypt ten years ago, and how popular it was, every one watching  the soap operas was recommending it to his peers, some people recorded it, and many of those who had TV were inviting their neighbors who hadn’t  to watch the episodes alongside them. many of the older people don’t read, so their children or grandchildren were reading the subtitles to them, and if  a regular watcher to The Bold and The Beautiful missed an episode or a part of it, the would find many others to tell him what happen with Ridge!

Imagine if the first screening of the Bold and The Beautiful was this year, actually we will be doing the same actions; but in different way, so instead of recommending the soap opera verbally, we would bookmark it and ‘theboldandthebeatiful’ tag  should be created, and instead of receiving people to watch it with us, we will upload what we recorded to Youtube and make it available not only to neighbors, but to everyone, even if those who don’t speak English, would find others translating it on Youtube, and  this who missed a part or an entire episode, instead of looking for other watchers to tell him what happened, he should find a forum of those who like the show
People’s life style is definitely changing over time, but it’s not accurate to say that media is the maker of this change, mass communication are just doers of  our will, it’s like someone taking a painkiller, then he gets better and lees sick, he would say a pill of painkiller eased him, and this is true, but he would not felt better if he didn’t take the pill, which was not to be produced if him and others need it.

Let’s look  to ourselves before  TV was invented, we were listening to the radio and were thrilled to have more than one station, we were also reading novels and wishing to explore another world. When radio transmitted us Monte Carlo and BBC, we were even happier, to find someone speaking from another world, it does not matter we like, after reading and listening, we wished to see the different world.

Then TV was the result of our wishes, it gave us more than reading Bridge’s story or listening to him and the beautiful, he made us see them and get to their world; once again we wished to get close to them and knew those people on TV personally. Here came the internet, to make us listed as ‘friends’ on  Ronn Moss’s page, to watch his interviews and know lots about him by just googling his name… we’re socializing with Moss more, not because social media made us social, but WE made it social!

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One Response to We Are Who Made the Media Social

  1. Dave Harte says:

    Very interesting post. I wonder what Clay Shirky would make of your example. He would probably cite The Bold and The Beautiful as an example of how TV consumes our ‘Cognitive Surplus’. Yet you say that in Egypt viewing the programme was a social experience. Would you say that it was in any way empowering?

    You might have a look for authors who have written about the relationship between social media and television.

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