Was reality TV a necessary precursor to social media?

To some degree, we are all voyeuristic creatures. Whether we choose to embrace or repel the urge to look into the lives of others, the instinct is still a compelling factor in our collective behaviors.

So how did we go from a society that believed some things are best left unsaid, to “it didn’t happen unless it’s on Facebook”? What brought the masses out from viewing the few to being the viewed?

Philologist Dr. Pamela Rutledge hypothesizes that that two factors contributed to the development of social media. The first is the longing people have for their 15 minutes of fame, a.k.a. Andy Warhol. The second is the vast void of content, created by the Internet, that needed to be filled.

Fifteen minutes? Void? Tell that to my teenage daughter who would spend 15 hours a day, if she could, on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube), and who’s quickly approaching her 5000 friend limit on Facebook.

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“There she is, Miss Media…”

Miss Wisconcin

Miss America Laura Kaeppeler

Okay, beauty pageants don’t hold the sway of days gone by, but you have to admire the pluck of this year’s 2012 Miss America pageant committee www.missamerica.org.

In Idol-esque fashion, last Saturday night the pageant allowed the public to vote online for a single candidate to compete as one of the five finalists.

The pageant utilized an elaborate mix of emerging media. Each contestant created a video that was part of a Facebook survey allowing enthusiasts to view and vote. The videos were also available on YouTube, and when “liked” also cast a vote. Voting could also take place via text messaging.

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Nobody calls it multi-media anymore

After reviewing our 2007 first quarter financials, everyone in the boardroom was silent. We knew the recession accounted for a good portion of our downturn, but more concerning was that our customers—and our customers’ customers—were communicating differently. We had endured many threats of new media displacing traditional media, but this was different. Hours of conversation followed, filled with streams of anecdotal evidence that made it clear: everything was changing.

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