Of all the Social Tools out there, most if not all of it is free text to the power of three. Notwithstanding the huge progress made – getting conversations in writing and saving them for eternity – it gets increasingly harder to make heads or tails of them.
Why favour conversation or thread A over B? You tell me; you won’t be able to unless you’ve gone through both.
The extra dimension of groups or communities, next to people, has added some value but not much. John Hagel’s Push versus Pull has still not resonated clearly enough: predictability is out of the window. Deciding to participate in a bonding engagement with people and “interests” and then wait what happens, isn’t very 21st century.
Life is easy, really. It is. So is social media-life. Everything you might be worrying about, has been invented ages ago already – the knowledge just got lost or got considered NIH. So, how do we go about curating content in this increasingly Social world?
Simple – just as we are doing in IRL.
If we talk, have conversations, what do we do? We label them in our mind. “Nice”, “Nasty”, “Interesting”, “Waste of time”, “Okay”, “Mulling” are some of the thoughts that pop into your mind during, or after.
Subconsciously, we also note the kind of conversations they were: “Chatter”, “Deep thoughts”, “Meaningful conversation”, “Gossip”.
We also store the subject: “Neighbour”, “Colleagues”, “Boss”.
We store all that, and we weight every single one of them.
We have nice chatter about our neighbour, following the examples above, but how nice? Nice, very nice, extremely nice. Was the chatter average chatter, fine chatter, or superb chatter? And was it just about our next-door neighbour, or did we look down a few doors at the same time? Or did we discuss neighbours in general?
Three choices there for each. Subject, type of conversation, and kind of conversation – three labels right there. We weigh them all, but just a value of 1, 2 or 3 to each of them is enough to go from good to better to best: that is how, all over the globe, language and semantics work – so let’s just adopt that as it apparently is a foolproof system embedded into our genes.
Then, the devil’s advocate: the benefit of hindsight. Do you believe in a static world where you adopt an opinion once, and firmly believe in no way of return? Then join politics or religion and good luck to you.
If, on the contrary, you believe in a dynamic world where things, people, events and opinions change simply because evolution has done so for billions of years, then you’ll grasp the notion of being able to change your standpoints.
So you take a stand on all that, immediately – and allow for the possibility to change your mind. However. You can’t be changing your mind forever. Over years, yes, sure, please be my guest. But with regards to past events, believe me, no matter how hard you try to change the past, it is not going to change your future for the better: so here too, there is a limit of three.
Here is what I envision: on posting anything, you’ll have to choose a minimum of one and a maximum of three: subjects, types of conversation, and kind of conversation. Each of what you choose has to be weighted: 1, 2 or 3, where everything defaults to 1. You can go back and change the weight – and only the weight – for all of those, three times each.
This won’t work for Twitter-esque environments, where it is impossible to take a single entity and consider that a conversation. Facebook updates? Neither. Questions and answers? Yes. Chats? Yes. Company internal discussions? Yes.
The secret to social media (e)valuation? Just apply the same formula you are using in you daily life.