Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are You Important? Social Media Thinks So.

With Steve Job's death last year, it's hard to be in the world, or particularly in the world of technology and not be thinking about death and what matters.  As you get older and see people around you die, you should be asking yourself, "what really matters?"  

Life is strange.  We know we were born and celebrate that fact yearly, but we have an odd way of avoiding the only other fact we can count on -- we die.

Yes, even you.  You WILL die.  (Unless biotech gets really innovative!)

So you will die and when you think that over, you should wonder, who will care?  Who will think my death matters?  Who will think my life mattered?  Who thinks I am important?

People who lived before us became known, or famous or important by waging wars, inventing things, writing books, building buildings, painting paintings, giving birth, curing diseases, traveling to unknown places, among other things.  

In our times, I think social media has given us all a new way to be important.  We might never be "famous" but we are important to our social media followers.  

We matter to a group of people -- some family, some friends, some strangers.  We matter right now thanks to social media.  We are famous to our circle of friends.  They miss us when we don't tweet or post.  They worry about us.  They learn from us when we link to interesting things.  We can make them laugh with YouTube videos.  We can stop dictators.  We can share a recipe and help them make dinner.    

When you rush to see who's been writing on your Facebook wall, you do it because the secret of social media is that it makes you matter.  Social media thinks you are a very important person. 

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