Stop, now, what’s that sound

Sometimes, starting a blog post with some music gets people into into the frame of mind you want. So if you could, play the vid, it’s the music not the images that matter, and then scroll to the rest of the text:

In recent chats with everyone on Twitter, blogs and in person, we’ve been talking about massive growths of online activity. Blogging, well, the Blog Awards show that blogging is mainstream, it ain’t just the nerds now. Facebook, 545k people on it now in Ireland. At a recent Bord Bia event, Jane from Thinkhouse was also saying that there’s been something like a silent Tipping Point, people now get the whole idea that online is a place, it’s a function. The constant hard work convincing companies that they need to engage with people online is a little less graft now. I know with my own work I’ve been getting people and companies contacting me pretty much every day asking me to do work for them and they know they need to do so. They don’t want convincing to blog or to market on Facebook, they just want to know how to do it and what way to do it. Businesses are getting it.

And then there’s Twitter. Never have I heard a tech hyped as much except for maybe the iPhone. Every bloody media organisation is talking about it and for those on it for ages we’re going “so?” but again, if we stop and step back, it’s an amazing place. An iPhone can improve your life, so can Twitter. Watch the snarky people guffaw at that!

Heather‘s two twitter messages confirm that the community feeling some get with blogging is on steroids for Twitter:

Something in Ireland

Something in Ireland

There is a very interesting feeling of togetherness on Twitter and on other places online. Shared experiences you might call them. I’m almost reminded of the English and the Blitz except it’s not people together because of being bombed. People tell you they failed their driving test and the group gives them a hug, people celebrate a new job and they get cheered, they say something stupid and get corrected or challenged, they ask for information and they get it in abundance. With the right followers and it seems in Ireland most people are in that demographic, Twitter is a very nurturing place to be. This is one reason as to why it’s taking off faster than blogs, faster than Facebook.

You hear all this waffle on radio shows “but I don’t want to know what someone had for breakfast”, well it’s not being informed about what you had, it’s a textual description of what is happening, you are there in their space but also on Twitter. It’s like a game of Sims but via text bursts and it’s real life. Some people are getting it though. 12,000 Irish people are getting it since they’re on Twitter though that’s a convservative number, it’s surging way faster than the 23% growth from Facebook last month too.

You also get the knockers saying that this stuff is antisocial and keeping people away from people. Bollox. Ask Anthony. More kids have more friends because of tech than any time before. The more friends and takes on life a kid and an adult has, the more world experienced they’ll be.

I despise the term social media due to all the snakeoilers talking it up and abusing the idea of it but we seem to be at some turning point where humanity is getting to shine through more in business and life because of these social-minded tools. And they’re not forcing us to be kind or nice or helpful, we’re doing that, the tools are just letting us send these sentiments to wider groups not based on geography. So you know world, despite the polar icecaps disappearing, employment declining, murderers back on the job in Northern Ireland and a rougher world, we’re doing pretty damned well and some tech is helping us along.

I’m playing the song again. Happy Friday the 13th!

15 Responses to “Stop, now, what’s that sound”

  1. Krishna De says:

    Great song to start a Friday with Damien.

    There certainly seems to be Twitter land rush especially over the last month.

    But if these tools allow real conversations between people no matter where they come from or what role the are in, those conversations can be the beginnings of change.

  2. TUG says:

    What about all us ould forum diehards from the good old days of 2003/04…

    Shared experiences all right and when I moved from Nationstates to real life politics in Ireland back to the net and property, I think it shows you that online is a very real place indeed.

    There used to be a kind of ongoing discussion about whether there was a battle of ideas on the internet, and with indymedia and the likes of, it’s a justifiable question in the sense that party hacks, apparatchiks and such, make it a pretty hard place to have an open debate.

    If the internet can surmount this second round effect and it’s struggling in my honest opinion, then we might have something worthwhile… At the moment, it’s reliant on responsible dictatorship of the proletariat on a few boards to try and keep debate relevant, civilised and open.

    The words on the screen, leading to violent flaming, leading to libel cases is a tale that is all too familiar for Ireland and the web.

  3. Kieran says:

    Great post, Damien!

  4. Eoin says:

    Interesting post Damien and I tend to be one of those people who think that all the tweet about twitter will come and go in about 4 months, just the latest buzz that points to the death rattles of larger scale print media. Blogs have matured into the mainstream in a way that was not possible about 6 months ago. Over at Maman Poulet (and other places) that is really evident. Part of the reason I stopped actually: couldn’t keep up with developments.

    But, it’s the message that’s important, not not the medium. I ‘asked’ Anthony as you suggested and going through this blog post, there’s a sense that it has facilitated him to think about his life in a different way and as a former blogger myself, I know what he means. As we are coming to discover in this economic mess we’ve backed ourselves into, it is one thing to feel good, quite another to do good.

    However, and this is more important and kind of supports TUG above, there’s a sense right now that the online can become really important in the upcoming local elections. There’s also a sense that the jumping on to online bandwagons is not enough for FF / FG and the others. The change is happening around them and not the other way around which is the way it was until recently. Political power is changing on this small island and it is going to get uglier before it will be better. We’re both of a generation that grew up with the same moronic political expediency in the late 1980s and early 1990s but we now have the means to call a lie a lie when we see it. We don’t have to rely on an increasingly supine RTE.

    Not sure what I am saying here but happy Friday the 13th yourself.

  5. Joe Scanlon says:

    I was starting to miss posts like this ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Ant Galvin says:

    I see my online life as one that has slowly grown new body parts since my first web-site in 1996… And the same goes for the web as a whole. The basic infrastructure of Lungs (networks) and Hearts (HTML) and stuff have been around for ages. Only in the last ten years have the useful functional bits like arms (blogs) and legs (social networks) shown up.

    Now we have Twitter – And its nourishment. Its the engagement to tie the rest together.

  7. Loved this post, Damien. What resonated with me is the challenge to the believe that “social media” is curtailing friendships in real life. My children who are old enough use Bebo to maintain friendships with “real” friends across multiple countries and to establish and strengthen fresh friendships in their new home.

  8. What a positive and uplifting post. I have a very difficult time explaining Facebook to my parents, and twitter/blogging to my friends!
    But the sense of community out there in Ireland is fantastic and I have met (and will continue to) new business acquaintances and friends through this medium. Tweet-ups are happening more and more often where online friends get together and engage with each other. It is not a load of socially-challenged nerds holed up in dark rooms as some people out there think – quite the opposite!
    Happy Friday everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Ah ya big softie ya. Hugs!

  10. paul savage says:

    As someone once said to me, the nail and the top of the hammer are at the same place.

    While being relatively new to twitter myself I do find the great power of being able to tap into the zeitgeist, to crowd source, and just to interact. It’s great to see these “tech tools” gathering traction, and becoming mainstream. Mainstream is also okay ๐Ÿ˜‰


  11. Great post Damo. I have often thought about setting posts to music but being the little trendsetter/all round dude you have beat me to the punch! I agree 100% with the sentiment of what you say here

  12. Calvin Jones says:

    Great post Damian.

    Every technology has it’s advocates and detractors… Twitter, Facebook and other social tools are no different. I’m sure there were people arguing the toss about the relative merits of cave wall drawings and smoke signals back in the day.

    None of that really matters — it’s not about the medium or the technology — it’s about making connections between people. That’s where the power of Twitter and other social tools really lies.

    I’m losing count of the number of times I first “meet” people I already know via Twitter. We launch immediately into conversation about things we know are interesting and relevant to both of us. The usual ice-breaking has happened online… which makes meeting face to face that much more productive.

    That’s just one brief example of myriad ways that online tools can empower people not just online, but offline too. There are plenty more.

    Sometime in the not too distant future people are going to look back at our online / offline divide and laugh — because for a whole new generation of people, there really is no distinction — there’s just “life”.

    Sounds like a topic to add to the lengthy list of blog posts I never get around to writing ;-)….

  13. Susan says:

    Love this post.

    Young people in particular for can be reached, engaged and mobilized through the Internet. It is powerful. Very exciting times.

    Positive social change can happen and these tools are helping to make it happen. There is savage power in technology and now is the time to embrace it and do something. Time for online action.

  14. Thanks for stopping by, Damien ๐Ÿ™‚

    If I had known I was going to have guests, I’d have tidied up a bit, and at least put my face on!

    Your post confirms what I had been suspecting… there is alot of opportunity online in Ireland right now. Yes, I do think it’s a zeitgeist. I wanted to write an encouraging post to point my web design students to:

    I came to Ireland in 2000, I was still working for my old company developing Flash games. I was working from home doing web development, using the web as my main form of income. It was also my connection to friends and family abroad. I didn’t realize how ‘different’ my perception of the web was from those in Ireland…

    For me, my early experiences of the Internet was about instant communication via IRC channels… if you’re familiar with that, then Twitter doesn’t seem that revolutionary. What’s revolutionary is that IRC, while widely used, doesn’t have the obvious appeal of Twitter. It doesn’t have the name-brand recognition, and because it doesn’t exist on the web, it’s hidden and under the radar.

    ICQ (remember ICQ??) was revolutionary… instant communication via text with someone across the globe was… really exciting. In a warm “wow, you’re on the other end of the line” kinda way. Many IM programs later, and isn’t IM a bit annoying? We expect an immediate response.

    Twitter/Facebook updates have the good aspects of logged-chat through IRC, and the lagged response of Email, and the brevity of IM. It’s a great format.

    But I didn’t want to wax on how nice Twitter is. I wanted to point back to the fact that the web has been widely used for 15 years… but it seems like people in Ireland are only ‘discovering’ it more now.

    When I moved to Ireland in 2000, I did spend alot of time online with old friends in the US, expats elsewhere, etc. And I felt like there was a dirth of Irish people online. I couldn’t figure out where the ‘buzz’ was. I saw company websites, and the odd dead web forum- but no action.

    I set up a blog for the arts organisation I was working for in 2002… but no one in Ireland seemed to know what a blog was. At least no one we worked with. Comments? on a webpage? I don’t think people knew what to do with them.

    I blogged back in 2003 when I was doing my MSc, but I was only able to connect to people in the US/Canada/UK… there simply weren’t many (any?) in a blogging community online in Ireland. Isolated bloggers, yes… but not much of a commenting community. I did meet up with Bernie Goldbach, but of course he’s an expat like me. And maybe because of the distance from family and friends, he was also prompted to online communication.

    I just feel like, as far as we think we’ve come we still have a loooong way to go. There’s so much room for opportunity online in Ireland, and a great need for talent.

    Oh I’ve just gone on a tangent now!

    Thanks for the post and for stopping by my Twitter feed ๐Ÿ™‚

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