What has Twitter and Facebook done for me? Nothing, really. Other than perhaps attending to my emotive needs of being connected to people when I’m traveling and whining.
Put another way, Twitter/Facebook/G+ are secondary media. They are a means to connect in crisis situations and to quickly disseminate rapidly evolving information. They are also great for staying connected with others on similar interests (Stanley Cup, Olympics). Social media is good for event-based activities. But terrible when people try to make it do more – such as, for example, nonsensically proclaiming that a hashtag is a movement. The substance needs to exist somewhere else (an academic profile, journal articles, blogs, online courses).
I seem to be collecting stuff like this of late. It parallels my feeling about open VS closed technology. Unfortunately my blogging has never been deeply thought out or philosophically substantial.
Twitter and G+ have been valuable to me in getting specific answers to problems and leading me to interesting posts and I do think the emotional connections (even if the emotion is laughter) are important.
I started writing the above a few hours ago, stopped for dinner and some TV. Since then John Connell picked it up: Putting Social Media in their Place and Jen Deyenberg posted Writing 140 Characters at a Time pointing out some valuable uses of twitter.