Last week I was at a conference about “SOCIAL” and expecting a lot of the same vapid BS. Hot air, conference showboating with little or no substance. But it surprised me … good format, smart interesting people.
Plus the moderator was Arianna Huffington. Unsurprisingly she had a lot of interesting things to say about the untapped power of media. That we can be doing real things with it an not just making money and worshiping the shiny bright objects du jour.
She said it so well — that as a culture and in the media industry we “fetishize” virality. Worship it. Why? At the end of the day what has so much of the bluster and buzz done to make life better? Food for thought.
Fetishizing “social” has become a major distraction, and we’re clearly a country that loves to be distracted. Our job in the media is to use all the social tools at our disposal to tell the stories that matter — as well as the stories that entertain — and to keep reminding ourselves that the tools are not the story. When we become too obsessed with our closed, circular Twitter or Facebook ecosystem, we can easily forget that poverty is on the rise, or that downward mobility is trending upward, or that over 5 million people have been without a job for half a year or more, or that millions of homeowners are still underwater. And just as easily, we can ignore all the great instances of compassion, ingenuity, and innovation that are changing lives and communities.