Social Media: once wild, now tame

Bud Caddell asks “Are we seeing a permanent stagnation for social media?”  He uses Google Insights to show that several terms are now beginning to plateau.  Nice spot.

And this may be.  Perhaps stagnation is upon us.

I tell you what I was thinking at the Futures of Entertainment at MIT this year.  “This has gone from a wild problem to a domesticated problem.”  By which I believe I meant that social media used to be extremely hard to think.  What it was, how it work, what difference it would make to communication, sociality, and culture?  Who knew?

Wild problems are problems that we “can’t quite get a handle on.”  What’s the vocabulary?  What are the terms?  Does anyone agree on the meanings of the terms.  We spend a lot of time saying things like “tell me that last part again.”  We spend a lot of time using Google to search for intelligent thoughts and comments.

But eventually this is terra cognito.  We get it in large and in small.  This is not to say that we don’t have lots of developments to look forward to.  But the basic shape of the phenomenon is clear.  And this means we start to slow in our Google search activity.  It also means that MIT discussion is vastly more productive, but it is a little less “all over the place.”

Bud’s right.  This is a kind of stagnation.  But I would prefer to think of it as domestication.  We have made this topic more fit for human habitation.  But of course it will go feral from time to time.  And we will have to look to the likes of Bud and other courageous players to make it sensible again.  But this idea has come out of the cold.


Caddell, Bud.  2009.  Behold the plateau of social media.  What Consumes Me. Dec. 22.  here.


Thanks to Bud for the image (now lost, see note below).

Thanks to Ana Domb for helping me design and execute the website, now in something like it’s final form.  This also marks my liberation from TypePad, my move to WordPress.  What a pleasure it is to live in a more sensible, reliable world.

Note: this post was lost about a year ago thanks to the unashamed incompetence of Network Solutions.  It was retrieved from the web yesterday and I am reposting it today December 24, 2010.