Why do we need social media role models?

I wanted to briefly return to the issue of social media role models after the events following Corvida’s very public 24 hours away from Twitter and FriendFeed. Once you get immersed in social media and social networking it becomes incredibly addictive and Corvida jokingly refers to Twitter as ‘crack’ and FriendFeed as ‘weed’. She asks if perhaps we are putting too much peer pressure on our readers/friends/colleagues to get involved – go on, just try it!

A comment was left asking why it should be up to us to promote responsible use amongst others, that we are just shifting the blame on to the early adopters who get them involved, just like someone might blame a drug dealer for their own downfall after becoming an addict. Yes, everyone has their own opinion and can make their own choices but as Scoble says the early adopters “are the ones who drive [the change in] society”.

I am all for the adoption of social media on a much wider scale than we have at present – being more connected means we can touch a wider audience and really break down the barriers to communication – but we shouldn’t push it to the degree that other things suffer.

Social media is a fantastic way to make connections but it should not be forgotten that we are social animals and the best way to interact, wherever possible, is in person where we can build on our online relationships.

We may be driving the change in society but what road do we want to take it down?

Your take

Do we have a responsibility to others even though they can make their own choices?

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Why do we need social media role models?

May 2, 2008

4 thoughts on “Why do we need social media role models?

  1. The first thing the early adopters do is filter out the stuff that doesn’t suck. That is probably the most important thing that occurs. Early adopters do not need to “pressure” people to join, but you should invite people you want to see on the service.

    Eventually, services that appeal to the mass consumer will hit their tipping point somehow. Mostly I think it comes from larger media outlets like Yahoo, or even CNN, Reuters and those types.

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  2. As a commenter noted on SheGeeks.net, we have the responsibility of informing our readers. That’s really as far as our obligations can go. Anything beyond that is optional. I’m personally not here to play the role model gig with my readers. That’s a task in and of itself that no one is obligated to doing.

    Sure others may look at us as role models, but if we’re not implicitly stating that it’s what we’re trying to be, then I see no reason to force that role upon us.

    At the same time, it is something that can come with the territory. Athletes have the same problem all the time. So, we must be aware of that, however we have no duty to honor it.

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