Monday, December 29, 2008

Autism Twitter Day

Yesterday I made two great discoveries in the blogosphere: this great post by Joe Boughner about the top 5 (well 4) SM trends that should die before 2009 and Autism Twitter Day. Yes, they are both related.

Joe's post talks about the way social media is becoming more about being one big popularity contest and less about the quality of the interactions social media makes possible. Amen. If the end result of social media is going to be the systematic rise of a few huge "experts" and millions of nobodies with great ideas yet few followers, I need to get off here. As Joe points out in his post, even the so-called experts are not experts. Nobody is, because social media is constantly changing and nobody, even if they're plugged in 24/7, can stay on top of it all. ESPECIALLY if they think that, because they're experts, they have nothing to learn from novices and don't bother seeking out the tiny, unknown guy or gal who is actually far more of an expert than many of the high-paid/high-profile consultants and gurus out there.

Which brings me to my second point: Twitter Autism Day. I forget how I stumbled upon the very few blog posts about Twitter Autism Day, but somehow I did and I'm awed by the whole thing. I won't bother to sum it up neatly here: basically a woman (Bonnie Sayers) who describes herself as a single parent to two boys who writes about autism spectrum disorders, orchestrated a Twitter event that generated over 5,000 tweets in 24 hours and made the top trending topic on Twitter twice that day.

It was certainly no coincidence that a second Twitter Autism Day, this time orchestrated by TannersDad as part of the Obama Biden Transition Project Community Discussions took place on December 23.

At any rate, each of these events seemed to be great successes and really demonstrated the power of social media tools. The two individuals who orchestrated the events? One has a few thousand followers and the other "just" 421--does that mean his event was any less significant or successful? Of course not.

My point? Social media isn't about ego or popularity; it's about enabling people with shared passions to connect, communicate and affect change.

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