Social Media as a Tool for Collaboration

25 Feb

With the rise in social media technologies over recent years there has been a constant question in place, “how will social media change the world.” While many people propose that the change has to do with mass distribution of information I argue that while increased access to and distribution of information world wide is an amazing and earth-altering advance in technology it may not be the biggest thing that social media has to offer us.

In the midst of the great discussions over the role of social media outlets, like twitter, during the then eminent revolution of Egypt a thought occurred to me… it then became a tweet.

RT @breannadrew : Does the use of #twitter in north african revolutions show promise of twitter as a tool for political collaboration

The idea that twitter and other social media tools could do more than just inform people but could truly connect people around topics provides long-term promise for the platform and differentiates it from all previous methods of information dissemination.

What was initially most off-putting to me about twitter was the idea that all day long large groups of people go about their day and periodically publish to the world short bits and pieces of their lives. This behavior seemed, in short, useless. Aside from my mother, very few people are deeply interested in my daily musings and activities. The functionality of twitter increases slightly as a tool to publish information about broader topics, but in this manner is used mostly for posting links – not purely tweets. But the holy grail of twitter use comes as a tool for social collaboration.

Yes, oftentimes input comes in forms that are greater than 160 characters but more often it doesn’t. After a month of waiting, observing and stewing over the possibilities that twitter may hold for collaborative tool it all became clear. Low and behold @KQEDnews confirmed my suspicions that the next big thing in social media will be collaboration.

@KQEDnews KQED News

#BaySnOMG is phenomenal! Who says you need a bunch of meetings to produce a collaborative media project??? @TheBayCitizen @CCTimes
Three news agencies all working together to develop a common goal, and doing it in segments of less than 160 characters. Now I’ll admit that developing a hash tag for a possible weather event might not be the most significant collaboration ever but its proof that it can be done. And further, the goal was to aid the most effective dissemination of bay area, snow related information.

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