One of the defining characteristics of social media is the ability it gives us to collaborate. We collaborate through our communication, and the participatory nature of social media means that every post has the power to draw collective thought though likes, comments, shares, etc..
Social media is littered with different types of collaboration. We can provide reviews of product and services to make informed purchase decisions, we can ask questions and receive collective responses. Businesses can use insight to make informed business decisions and we can help other people when they are in a fix (ref: Facebook dramas, you know you always have a friend complaining about something).
So, as I say it’s all about the collaboration.
In fact, this year’s
Social Media Week even has the global theme of ‘Empowering Change Through Collaboration’.
However it wasn’t the events at SMW that have me thinking about collaboration today. Instead, it was an advert for a new TV show on Channel 4:
‘The Audience’. Have you seen it? Here is a sneaky peak...
Essentially 50 strangers follow a person about and help them make a difficult decision through the power of collective wisdom and collaboration. Frankly, if this show is not the living, walking, breathing version of social media then I don’t know what is!
I know, I know, it sounds like a nightmare. Why on earth would you want 50 people a TV crew, production team and the rest of the world follow you about on your daily business while you have to make an emotionally difficult decision?
But frankly – we are all doing this already. Albeit without the TV cameras and to some extent ‘strangers’ – is this not just another version of the collective thought that can be found in social media?
We all live our lives with an audience whether we think we do or not. They are there waiting, lurking or actively engaging in our lives. Clearly the ‘social media’ version of ‘The Audience’ would not make such good TV (not much to look at with someone writing a status update). But posting on social media opens you up to the same collective power or mock criticism.
In my eyes the show demonstrates the power of social media, albeit unintentionally. So to all you naysayers out there watch the show and see what the power of collective thought can achieve. Then come back to me and see how I can help give insight from the much larger and nosier world of social media.
By Jillian Ney, director of research and insight, Yomego