Social networking isn’t new…

Let’s get something straight. Social networking isn’t new.

It’s been happening since Man first stepped out of his cave and started talking with people from other caves.

But that’s obvious.

What about “Social Media”? ”Social Media” is just a buzzword used to describe the nature of sharing online.

The first “Social Network” was started in 1973  by a few guys from Berkley, California. It was called Community Memory. It was created as an experiment to see how people would react to using a computer to exchange information.

Wikipedia says this about Community Memory:

While initially conceived as an information and resource sharing network linking a variety of counter-cultural economic, educational, and social organizations with each other and the public, Community Memory was soon generalized to be an information flea market. Once the system became available, the users demonstrated that it was a general communications medium that could be used for art, literature, journalism, commerce, and social chatter.

While the interface was certainly very different back in 1973, the earliest  ”social network” was used almost exactly the same way most people use Twitter.

Which brings me to my point.

“Social Media” is a CONCEPT

That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Businesses get hung up on what platform they should be on, or are concerned with “doing it right”.

Instead of treating the platform as a way to communicate with other people, it’s treated like they’re talking to the platform itself.

Which is as effective as talking to a wall.

“Social Networking” is about sharing.

It’s about finding like minded individuals to create memorable experiences with. It’s about being able to communicate with out barriers. The only limitations are by your own mind and interests.

Something about the snippit from Wikipedia struck me. It says:

While initially conceived as an information and resource sharing network linking a variety of counter-cultural economic, educational, and social organizations with each other and the public, Community Memory was soon generalized to be an information flea market. Once the system became available, the users demonstrated that it was a general communications medium that could be used for art, literature, journalism, commerce, and social chatter.


Community Memory’s founders thought when they were creating the system it would be this mind blowing subversive thing. Only those who were on the outskirts of normal society would understand what it’s true purpose would be.

Instead, it’s users used it to share what they would share with their friends. And even as early as 1973, this first social network, was used for commerce.

I don’t know about you, but to me, there is something very profound about that.

The  first ever “social network” users found a way to buy and sell products.

There were no case studies, or targeted advertising, or analytics metrics, Ppc, or any of the millions of excuses tools we have now, to gauge whether or not we’re doing it right.

They were just people who found a new way to talk with other people. Somehow they made commerce work.

What do you think?

Have we over complicated it ? Do we focus too much on the wrong things? What do you think we do right? Wrong?

Help me continue this story.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Adegbenga Agoro April 22, 2011 at 12:53 am

I believe strongly that with the advent of technology we have gotten lost in the complex maze of tools and what have you. I also tell friends that social media is the future but I also tell myself many times without actually voicing it that, marketers of old did the exact same things, now instead of cold-calling, we are adding people we don’t know as friends on facebook and following folks we haven’t even taken out time to review their tweets just to get a pool of people to push stuff at.

This brings us back to “talking to the platform” instead of the people, reading this article, i stand corrected and will work towards engaging the people, people matter and we might just be missing out on the real great and fun part of social media, meeting people outside our traditional sphere of interactions and influence

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Tommy is my name April 22, 2011 at 1:22 am

And that’s the beauty part, it’s always been about the people.

What good is 10,000 followers if only one is listening?

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Tommy is my name April 22, 2011 at 1:23 am

P.s thank you for stopping by :-)

Sent from my iPad

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