Had a fascinating conversation with a small group of people at #PodCampHfx last Sunday about the role of social media in shifting the shape of the world. I was particularly interested in its influence along the chaordic path – that place between chaos and order we seem to be navigating more and more frequently in the world right now.
I wanted to understand more the influence of social media on the chaordic path and what the opportunity is to influence it more strategically or with greater intentionality. I also shared the stepping stones of the Chaordic Path: need, purpose, principles, people, concept, limiting beliefs, structure and processes, and practice.
Social media facilitates networks or webs of people in making interconnected relationships more visible. Partly because of this it is also driving greater transparency in today’s world. Buzz spreads rapidly through Facebook or Twitter and it is a lot harder to hide information, indiscretions, faux pas’ or worse. Even with privacy settings, you cannot control what someone else posts.
There was a time that technology was isolating for people. It was easier to sit at home emailing people half way around the world than it was to go knock on the door of the next door neighbour. The rise of social technology though is enabling people to connect and reconnect with each other in ways that also generates in person contact. Friends in a city will find each other through social technology – on the web and in person. There are examples of how Twitter friends, who may or may not have actually met each other, arrive at conferences and then set up the opportunity to meet face-to-face.
What was most interesting in our chat at #podcampHFX was how often the word community popped up. I have noticed that people are yearning for community and sense of connection and social media seems to have created pathways to community in surprising ways. And the most intriguing thought: social media is transforming our social norms, changing the parameters of acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour, doing this broadly and maybe more swiftly than any other social norm shift in the history of civilized society.
I’m still reflecting on how social media is shifting the shape of our world and contributing to the regeneration of community.