It happens on occasion (okay, with this friend it happens a lot), but I battle with a friend over Social Media’s role in our lives and relationships.
I’m not a fan of the outsider, knee jerk reactions to Social Media that say we are getting dumber, we can’t focus and we are so lonely.
All those things may be happening, but it’s not because of Social Media… not solely anyway. These are, in fact, the same claims that have been preached about with every new development ranging from radio, TV and, I believe, even books.
So, I’m not a fan of those re-occurring, blame-the-newest-thing-for-our-bad-thing argument.
Nor am I a blinded super fan of Social Media… there’s crap out there (lots of it) and “gurus” making money by ripping people off.
I am, however, a fan of the true connections that have been made possible because of platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These platforms are just the latest evolutionary step from mail to telegram to telephone to Internet to e-mail, etc.
And, as you may have guessed, I am a SUPER fan of communities like #WJCHAT, that support and educate each other by harnessing these platforms.
The two-year anniversary of our little community was in February and, in my hopes to gets some attention to it, I asked a couple journalism sites to do a write up on us. To be honest, I didn’t really make a hard pitch.
Naturally, as good journos, the question led to why… but more importantly, what has #WJCHAT done? Where’s the proof?
I don’t have those metrics.
While we often talk about analytics, ROI and such, for me, I don’t really care about those when it comes to #WJCHAT.
All I care about is that people know that they are not alone in their struggle to find their place in journalism, that they are getting educated on how to improve journalism and that they are sharing their knowledge and experiences so we collectively “save” journalism.
I remember Chappell popping into the #WJCHAT stream and meeting him IRL at an ONA event. But I didn’t know that our little community played a role in his journalistic development… but it was enough that he felt compelled to mentioned #WJCHAT in his profile piece.
That is my proof. He is my metric.
Tonight I will be meeting “strangers” for the first time IRL at our now annual #WJCHAT meetup at SXSW.
I will be seeing old friends and making new ones (once we get over the awkward oh-yeah-I-know-you moment after we connect the avatar or handle to the face and name).
That is my proof. They are my metric.
Do you know that I have only met, maybe, half of the people who volunteer each week to run #WJCHAT. Never meet them outside of email, a collaborative document or Twitter chat.
These folks are my colleagues. They are my friends. They, too, are my proof… my metric.
Everyone in this diverse community is my argument proving that Social Media is an undeniably positive element in our modern lives.
And, my goal when Twitter life and real life merges later today, is to be present with this community of friends… and, on occasion, awkwardly look at my phone to see if I need to tweet out something.
Thank you for being part of this community. < cheesy >It’s been a positive element in my life.< /cheesy >