A look at what – and who – is pushing the future in new directions

Social Media is Dead – Long Live the New Fresh

rssMy Google homepage looks like “Night of the Living Dead.” RSS feeds roam the screen like zombies with unfulfilled shopping lists. I don’t have a helicopter, so there’s no way I’m getting out of this.

Oh, didn’t you hear? Sometime ago RSS died. There wasn’t a big going away party – just a few close friends. And yet … it wanders the Web … hungry for brain.

I’m late to the party. To be fair, TechCrunchIT is not in my Google Reader and I wasn’t there when Steve Gillmor took its pulse. Rather I was alerted to the fact that RSS had passed by way of Twitter. (case in point?) Sam Diaz concurred last week – RSS is, indeed, dead.

In fact, it seems like everywhere you look, things are dropping. I keep waiting for someone to tell me that social media is dead – and then what’s next? No media at all? Will we transmit thoughts and perception telepathically through Motorola chips implanted in our brains?

It seems like an ongoing trend to declare things in absolute statements. These are a few I’ve heard over the last year:

  • Teens don’t tweet.
  • Newspapers are dying.
  • Public relations is dead.
  • Kill your blog.

I could go on. I think it’s a mistake to relegate things that are no longer the trending norm to eternal slumber. Plus, more often than not, it’s simply not true. Teens do tweet – they’re just not the homo superior of the realm. Newspapers, as a whole, aren’t dying; the medium is becoming sustainable in the new information economy. Public relations isn’t dead – it’s certainly due for a shift in perspective, but it’s very much alive.

At this stage in communications, things are changing so fast, we don’t have time to see the gradient shift. The next hot item is just stepping out of the car and something needs to clear space on the runway. It seems like we’re no longer content to watch things play out. We have to kill off yesterday’s headlines so that we can herald tomorrow’s.

Plus, the age of Twitter is very much the age of catchphrases. “Microblogging is emerging as a viable, and worthwhile, form of expression and networking,” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like “blogs are dead.” Plus, the latter leaves room for a link to the full article and any subsequent re-tweets.

I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. I love Twitter … most of the time. Best of all, I have the option of skimming in Twitter and then doing a deeper diver later into my reader. I also check certain sites, friends’ Delicious accounts, etc.

I just don’t think that Real Simple Syndication is dead. It’s been tweaked, torqued, twisted and integrated. I think the main idea, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that we no longer rely soley on our Web aggregators to inform us. Well, yeah, we have a few more options. That doesn’t mean that RSS died, it’s just not the only player on the field.

Collective Soul just released their eighth album, but I still take the time to listen to “Shine” and “Pretty Donna” – they’re just part of a steadily growing playlist.

At most, I think we can say that certain functions of RSS have been adapted and customized to fit other formats. The future of social media, newspapers, public relations and so on and so forth isn’t death, but integration and adaptation. We don’t have to predict the future, because it’s constantly shifting – and it won’t be the same for everyone.

Some of us will abandon RSS for Twitter. Others will use both. Perhaps some will just use RSS. Or maybe some new tool will come along that combines the best features of everything and then we’ll all use that?

Isn’t that what Google Wave is supposed to be?

Google Wave

Announced in May, and recently available to some Apps users, Google Wave seems to be a jack-of-all-trades for communications. Is it a messenger, a mailbox, document sharer, collaboration tool, project dashboard … all of the above? But it enters the picture with a basket instead of a scythe. It’s not here to kill AIM or Twitter or e-mail – it’s here to take the best of relevant technologies and integrate and adapt them.

Evolution is constantly going on, but we don’t have to qualify things in absolutes. Remember, video did not kill radio – radio went online.

Article By: Forest Taylor

View Comments to “Social Media is Dead – Long Live the New Fresh”

Leave a Reply

blog comments powered by Disqus