My internet is a funny place filled with funny little interactions and I really don’t spend much more time on it than that. The part of me that half-heartedly invested four years into psychology, likes to dig a little deeper into those human interactions. The rest of me, knows that half way through, I’ll be looking for a beer and a $2 plate of hot chips and gravy.
What continues to amaze me is the shallowness of it all, what do they call it? “the echo chamber” where things keep coming around and around and being repeated again and again. Very few can claim “I said it first” in a cavern of this size, instead we look for meaning in the value that we can add to any given statement. Are we achieving this or are we simply continuing the echo?
When I introduce people to Twitter, I try really hard never to say “don’t tweet your lunch, nobody cares”. It may be true, it may be what all the social media gurus say – but bloody hell – spambots aren’t tweeting their lunch either. They are retweeting and retweeting and repeating and repeating (sick of it yet?). It is your personality alone that makes you unique, that adds value to what you say and allows you to shine. If your lunch is spaghetti on toast every day, that’s who you are. That’s someone I might want to connect with – if I liked spaghetti on toast, which, as it so, happens I don’t.
Within these funny little interactions, I do find fascination in the idea of “intellectual property”. Some companies say that what you produce while working for them belongs to them, it is their IP and purchased from you as a part of your contract. Yet if you take that information in the course of your contract and put it on a blog, or on twitter or post the entire thing to slideshare – who does it belong to then? It is in the public domain free to be downloaded and reused however others choose. While you work for the company, they may praise your social networking skills and your digital eminence, but when you leave, a crucial part of the work you do for them is now out in the wild free to be repeated and retweeted and retweaked ad nauseum.
How much thought do companies put into their social strategies? Do they really understand that having a voice in the echo chamber is wonderful, but at the same time when the echo does die down, the idea of ownership and property tends to die down too?
Set your content free, they cry.
Let your ideas fly, they cry.
But one day, the lawyers will get involved and quietly suggest that there is a cost to all of this freedom and flight. The question is, how will the companies respond?
ps My heading is borrowed from the thinkgeek baby suit we bought for our first born.. just in case anyone was wondering where they had seen it before and was concerned about ownership and IP.