Graduation day, a lot of social but hardly any mobile
Originally published at www.crossmedialab.nl on 16 July 2010.
Yesterday, we experienced the graduation of Digital Communication students. I forgot how many there were but the organization had to split up the group into two. Otherwise the ceremony would have taken four hours or so. The mentors of the graduates were instructed to speak only two minutes at the most. Fortunately, most of them stuck to the rule.
I had only three graduates but due to the fact that Erik Hekman had left for Mexico the other week, my list extended to an odd ten in total (it didn’t take me twenty minutes, though).
What struck me was an overdose of the word ‘social media’. I recon that half of the graduates’ theses dealt with the assignors’ question: “gamma a social media”. Apparently, social media is hyping. Apparently? No! Social media is hyping. But still, this is what Web Prowler criticizes on 9 May, 2010: “Only about 1% of the online population uses Twitter weekly. One suspects it has been concentrated among the media elite, even as celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey have begun using and promoting it. It’s more of a media industry thing right now. Very few people between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are using it”. As Web Prowler continues: “Social media has reached critical mass, with 83% of the Internet population now using it – and more than half doing so on a regular basis – according to new research being released today by Knowledge Networks. But for all the media industry’s hype and buzz surrounding social networks, micro blogs, and other social networking platforms, the genre has failed to become much of a marketing medium, and in the opinion of the Knowledge Networks’ analysts, likely never will”.
But then again, that was early May of this year. We are a moth and a half further and I guess social media has not stopped evolving. Social media has evolved – or should I say revolutionized – into masses of people using an immense number of social network sites, platforms and what have we. Could it be that we are now fully interconnected?
Only now, as the theses of our graduates proved, organizations are gradually reshaping their thoughts on using social media either as a tool to interact with their internal and external stakeholders or as a tool to some how anticipate. We all know that Twitter is a major push tool for companies. It seems to be the same old story. If you want to reach critical mass in the usage of technology, sell porn (which reminds me what good’ol Steve Jobs once said about his walled-garden system: “if you want to buy porn, buy an android”.).
Much is being experimented when it comes down to extending social media to the communication strategies of organizations. And this year’s harvest of Digital Communication Bachelors of our faculty more or less proves this hypothesis.
Some key word examples. The Attorney General’s office in Utrecht wanted a (closed and secure) social media system to meet today’s advantage of information gathering of the press; the attorneys cannot keep up with the information pace of their cases. Real estate broking is searching for new ways of interacting with house buyers and sellers, augmenting the experience for buyers to have a look inside the estate they may want to buy. This may well change the collective conservatism of that branch in the Netherlands. And as a third example, two of my graduates developed and realized a tablet application for doctors to examine people how not speak English or Dutch. The doctors can service even illiterates without these languages.
One research group graduate (Masoud Banbersta) spent six months researching, analyzing, concluding and advising on the key success factors of social network sites with an emphasis on Twitter (thesis available here). Now, that’s serious stuff but very satisfying and readable.
Back to yesterday and also back to my field of interest: mobile. Only one student graduated on something mobile (only heard about it, not read the thesis yet). I hope this will change soon as we can see points all around us tipping it off. And then I have not spoken about the next new big thing; the melting pot of social media and mobile.
From all of us at Crossmedialab: dear graduates, enjoy your summer and we all hope you make a great career start (many of you already did that and that’s fantastic).