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Don’t Understand New Media? Maybe You’re Not Old-Fashioned Enough

Yesterday I wrote a post contrasting Twitter with the ancient honeybee “waggle dance” that is used by a single forager bee to signal where food resources are located to the hive. It was my little metaphor to explain the larger point that the instinct to tell a group of people that a cafe you got to first doesn’t have wi-fi, or that the line at the nightclub is too long so we should rendezvous somewhere else is an ancient as, well, humans. Sure, cavemen applied it differently (probably more like bees – “Big. Animals. There.”) but it’s the same instinct.

Well, a newcomer to the Government 2.0 space, Strategic Social (who I am an advisor to as they are “leveraging the social web for national security”), is actually studying this notion more formally. In a recent post on their website, they outline a new project in which they will study online “tribes” of people in combination with anthropology studies in South America and Africa. I wholeheartedly believe in their approach:

“The key to understanding the power of Web 2.0 communication tools is the application of an anthropological approach. Strategic Social firmly believes that social media represents just one more arena in which we can conduct field research.”

New media is not about “new” and not really about “media” either (see Gary Vaynerchuk’s vlog on the latter point here). It’s about behavioral communications, instincts that pre-date man. As a behavioral neurogeneticist I studied some genes that are very similar in insects and man, and indeed virtually all animals, that similarly affect behavior instincts. This stuff is old-fashioned.

What is new is the shiny objects in the so-called “TGIF Revolution” (Twitter, Google, Internet, Facebook). Yes, the tools are new. They are exciting. But what we do with them is not.

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

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