The End of A Cycle

This may be the end of the cycle that began with Friendster and Livejournal. Not the end of social media, by any means, obviously. But it feels like this is the point at where the current systems seize up for a bit. Perhaps not even in ways that most people will notice. But social media seems now to be clearly calcifying into Big Media, with Big Media problems like cable-style carriage disputes. Frame the Twitter-Instagram spat in terms of Virginmedia not being able to carry Sky Atlantic in the UK, say (I know there are many more US examples).

From here.

This is at least a month old by now, and I’m still unsure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it has a ring of truth, but I also suspect that social media in general will prove to adapt and reinvent itself faster than being given credit for here; if nothing else, someone else will come up with a hacked/revised version of something that already exists to jumpstart the next generation, surely…?

“Authority Has Been Replaced By Authenticity”

Authority has been replaced by authenticity as the currency of social journalism. The key to engaging with a community is to seek out those closest to the story. They rarely have a title but are people of standing within a community. They are guides to the wisdom within their crowd and interpreters of nuance: if you are verifying video from Syria you don’t want a foreign policy wonk, you want someone who can distinguish between a Damascus and a Homs accent.

From here, by Storify’s Mark Little.

There’s definitely something to this, I think; the way that social media has changed journalists’ interactions with sources, and where they find sources. I’m not exactly a fan of the “LazyWeb” crowdsourcing of listicles (“Hey, Twitter! What are the Top 10 [Insert Subject Here]!” is something it always makes me mad to see out there, because it’s… well, lazy, but I know that I have found multiple sources via social media that would’ve eluded me otherwise, and different types of sources, too.

On Social Media and Narcissism

From the Guardian:

Researchers have established a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you are a “socially disruptive” narcissist, confirming the conclusions of many social media sceptics…

The latest study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, also found that narcissists responded more aggressively to derogatory comments made about them on the social networking site’s public walls and changed their profile pictures more often.

A number of previous studies have linked narcissism with Facebook use, but this is some of the first evidence of a direct relationship between Facebook friends and the most “toxic” elements of narcissistic personality disorder.

I have a love-hate relationship with social media: I am addicted to Twitter, but rarely on Facebook or Google+, despite having accounts on both. If I hadn’t been required as a writer for Gawker and Time to keep my Facebook account and make it public as part of the attempt to make writers more like peers than experts (There’s definitely a blog post at some point there about that, and the internal tension that though process has, considering the way that writers are required/pushed to position what they write, but that’s for another time), I strongly suspect that I’d have deleted or abandoned my Facebook account some time ago, and I’m only really making tentative steps into Google+ now, months after it was launched and when everyone is declaring the concept dead.

That said, I’m not sure that the right angle is being taken with this report; it sounds more like the conclusion is “Narcissists are very narcissistic about their social media profiles!” than “People who change their social media profiles a lot are narcissists!” if that makes sense. The “link” between the two may be there, but it feels like a jump in logic to go from A to B, in the same way that you wouldn’t look at common traits in serial killers and then announce “If you’re right handed, you may be a serial killer.”

That said, what do I know? I haven’t changed my Twitter avatar in something like two years.