Making Social Media Economically Viable, Part 1


With the economy downturn locally, nationally, and globally, one of the things I’ve been hearing is, “Oh, we need to rebuild those industries that are failing so people can get back the jobs they’ve always done,” with “we” usually being someone else. I am the furthest thing from any kind of economic expert, more a distant dabbler in the concepts. Still, the idea of trying to force success out of something that has already failed hasn’t made sense to me. I’m also uncertain that I like the idea of trying to continue an enterprise model (industrialization) that has proven to have severe negative effects on the health of the species.

Instead of the factory models of production and education and healthcare, I’ve been pondering the potential for micro and local entrepreneurship, implementing the “long tail” approach to diversifying goods and services. I know, the trick will remain how to preserve infrastructure. Still, a more personalized approach to economic growth interests me.

I mentioned this to a frustrated friend a few weeks ago, and his colorful reply boils down to, “Darlin’, not everyone has as much talent as you do. You can’t expect folks to be entrepreneurs, they don’t have as much to offer.” That seemed even MORE wrong to me. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has special skills, abilities, talents, gifts. Sometimes the value we place as a culture on the “Magpie” bright and shiny gifts undervalue the strength and purpose of the basics in keeping things running. As someone who is perhaps over-endowed with glitzy gifts and talents, I have a profound appreciation for people who are good at the tasks I am NOT good at — who can manage their house, keep things tidy and on schedule, repair the broken dishwasher, keep their checkbook balanced and lawn mowed, upholster the couch, take care of their friends and family, etcetera. I’d be delighted to barter some of my time and talent or cooking in exchange for someone else’s time and talent when those talents fall into areas where I am weak.

I started to look at the following slide presentation because it said “Web 3.0” which, to most of the folk I talk with means the semantic web, but these folks used it in a completely different way. (That is a good argument for completely ignoring the jargon phrases of “Web 2.0” and “Web 3.0”, by the way.) They were looking at Web 1.0 as establishing the infrastructure, Web 2.0 as focused on user-created content, and Web 3.0 as making the user-created and user-generated content economically viable. Bingo. So I wanted to share it with you, just to provoke thought, more than anything else.

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