Video: The Rise of Us – The Distributed Power of Social Media

As mentioned earlier, I was invited to speak at Dr. Michael Stefanone’s Organizational Communication class. Entitled “The Rise of Us”, I spoke on the present and future uses of social media in corporations. By social media, I largely refer to things such as blogs, wikis and even Second Life.

Even though it was a huge lecture hall, I was quite disappointed with the lack of awareness to a lot of things I mentioned. Once again, there was the mentality that people who engage in these forms of activities have no life… be it studying black friday deals online, blogging, or even trying Second Life. Perhaps they do spend time on Facebook or MySpace, but we didn’t get there.

On a positive note, one of the students asked where people find the time to invest in these new media and whether it was a socially healthy in the first place. In response, I pointed out how the same question could have been asked when televisions first came around… followed by when the Internet first connected our households. While we are comfortable with the traditional media, I highlighted to them how legitimate affordances of social media are still being discovered, such as for the purpose of improving education or redefining politics.

Before I ended the session, I urged the students to experience these things for themselves since things like blogs and Second Life are very much like blank canvases waiting for an expression. As science fiction writer William Gibson once said, “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet”.

UPDATE1 : Who’d knew that this little video presentation of mine has made it into The Chronicle of Higher Education. Entitled “When Professors Are More Wired Than Their Students“, writer Scott Carlson points out our discussion on technological-apathy in academia, and on the legitimacy of blogs and Second Life as part of our mainstream media landscape.

UPDATE 2: By request, here’s the Microsoft Powerpoint file I produced for the presentation in the video. Feel free to use it to evangelize social media use on your campus!

29 thoughts on “Video: The Rise of Us – The Distributed Power of Social Media

  1. “Where do people find time to do this?” is a common refrain. I suspect the perception is that it must take a lot of time to blog and interact online. Perhaps the ease of blogging (for those who find it easy) and hence the rate at which content is published has created an impression that “bloggers have no life” or something along that line. Your response re: asking the same question about TV was apt. In fact, watching TV, playing computer games (you name your “poison”/ hobby here) are all potential time-wasters when carried to excess. So it’s really a question of balance.

  2. Niki: Thanks. Reading your profile, you seem to be a Communication major. Were you actually at the lecture?

    Ivan: Mindsets are natural barriers to entry, which I think can be a good thing since it gives people like us the opportunity to be pioneers in particular spaces. First come first serve. 🙂

  3. I read about your lecture on The Chronicle and enjoyed your lecture.

    I wonder how creative the next generation of leaders will be if they doubt the importance of the web and see having Facebook and MySpace accounts as being tech savvy.

  4. Dean: Holy cow, I didn’t know this little lecture would make it into The Chronicle! At least I know now that my feelings about technologically apathetic students are legitimate! 🙂

  5. Kevin,
    I, too, learned of your lecture via the Chronicle. You did a great job. I was taken not only by the lack of experience and experimenting of the class, but also by the lack of curiosity. I was surprised there were no questions at the end…only the sounds of people packing up and leaving. Maybe it was the schedule, but I was still surprised. As a former teacher, I would have been a bit hurt…or at least disappointed.

    I wonder how you see the growth of social networking in the corporate world. That is, sharing best practices, mentoring, and building networks of individuals. How do you see sites like, Linkedin, and even Social Value Network developing? I would like to believe there is a future in this technology/app other than sharing holiday snaps.

    Thanks again for a great lecture!

  6. Walt: Thanks for dropping by. I guess we’ll have to find out what they’re engaged with… maybe they are onto the next best thing and we’re missing out.

    About students packing and leaving… this was an undergraduate population, so it was a tiny percentage of audience who were really engaged. The stark reality of modern education.

  7. Hi Kevin. Nice job! This topic has come up here at North Central Michigan College(2yr college in Northern MI) and coincidentally, our marketing director was looking for some more information on the new media that our students are working within – we’ve forwarded this on to him.

    I remember the very negative reaction from an audience of educators when Everquest was first presented – and the same, valid concerns were brought up. It simply is what it is – and we have to be aware of it.

    Good luck with your doctoral work!


  8. Kevin – do you have to PPT slides posted somewhere (.PDF, locked PPS) that I can dl? I’d like to follow along w/ the slides

  9. I really enjoyed your lecture from tuesdays class. I learned alot and it even prompted me to check out some of the technologies that you talked about. Dont be disappointed about nobody asking questions, we are a very quiet class =)

  10. now if only all the lectures were as interesting… good job, I downloaded second life but I refuse to open it until after finals. haha

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