I have another post up on the Stanford Social Innovation Review opinion blog and I’d love to hear your opinion!

Let’s assume social media is the means to an end. That ‘end’ is going to be different depending on whether you are using it as an organization or an individual, for conversations or for advertising, for profit or for community building, for fun or for policies. So, when social media meet ups, in person or online, and communities form, is it mostly around the means (specific tools, advocating for adoption, etc.) or the end (people using social media in general for the same purpose or cause)?

So, asked again: Do we come together around social media because of affinity towards specific platforms, tools, or programs or because of similarities in usage of those platforms, tools, or programs?

Does it then, really matter if social media communities and conversations are focused on either the means or the ends?  It isn’t as if we are discussing war, right? The uses, developments, and constant permutations of social media are so diverse and evolving so quickly – is it enough to help each other just keep pace?

You can read on and share your answer on the SSIR blog post here!

Social Media: the means vs the ends
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  • Hi Amy

    I hope I am not missing your point, but I think what you are saying is that sometimes it seems as if all the buzz is about the buzz, i.e. its the how not the what. I think this is just a question of time for what is still an emerging technology. I am reminded of the late seventies early eighties when we all talked far too much about hi-fi, there were endless magazines and shows – in fact you were defined by your system – where you Sony or B&O? Now we just take good sound systems for granted. In time the debate will move away from Twitter vs Facebook vs Ning and be more about case studies of mass involvement/response achieved and how they were planned/executed. How long will this take? I think its gathering pace and once the big nfp’s make Social Media part of their mainstream (next 12 months?), the Social Media world will become more outward looking.

  • Thanks, Charles! Excellent comment…

    I think you suggest an excellent way of looking at the issue, one based on time/exposure. Certainly we can all understand excitement and hype around a new tool or platform. I agree with you idea that we will be able to stand back and examine, perhaps more objectively, in a year or so once social media tools are more mainstream and even more assumed in usage. Much like computers were a big deal and then once they were common enough to assume a group was using them, it was easier to start examining which ones were working best for what usage, etc.

    Great addition to the conversation!