|Psy (Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer)|
Having the ability to individually become recognized globally (whatever your definition of global is) is truly brand new for the human race. Think about the evolution of "recognition". Before newspapers, people were recognized in their community, primarily face to face interactions that enabled us to tell our story and be "recognized". Then newspapers came along and as the newspaper became well known and shared around the world, people were recognized... if the paper felt the information about you was "news worthy" (good or bad). However, the newspaper people were in control of our recognition. Then news (from newspapers) migrated to the internet via websites and the recognition happened faster and more globally, but it was still controlled by the newspaper. Then people became more active on the internet, creating websites and then blogs, tweets, and facebook posts. This was the turning point... when people published what they wanted to publish. The last component required to complete this transformation was that there were enough people "listening" that the individual could have a following and be recognized. Today, if we have the drive and the ability to give people what they want, we can become recognized, quickly and globally, and simply because enough people are listening and recognizing the value.
Some good examples of this new phenomenon range from the popularity of Psy, a Korean singer that had a number 1 hit single sung in Korean (more or less :-)) to my cousin Adele who has a following of about 75 people on Facebook and she posts almost every day about her life and travels. Diane Nyad, the swimmer that is attempting to swim from Cuban to Key West, is another good example. She has taken on the challenge to push herself as well as encourage others to do the same. None of these people would have the impact they have today without social media helping them get their message out, and people listening and responding. It is truly a new (and mostly wonderful) world if you ask me.
This ability has a whole new set of challenges for us as a society, and I have not yet spent time thinking through these challenges. I do believe this new world makes us more responsible as individuals because we can no longer blame a newspaper or a company for what we "hear" and make popular. We listen to and promote who and what we want, so we have the power and responsibility to promote "responsibly". Sounds like a new tag line, doesn't it? "Promote responsibly". In my opinion we should adopt this mantra because we don't have a choice - social media is here and it will change our life whether we participate actively or not.