Yesterday was a big day in the social media world, what with the launch of Friendfeed’s new beta in the morning and the recording of Gillmor Gang in the afternoon.It was an all-day community day for me, as I first joined my community in the morning to try the new interface and joined another community in the afternoon to listen to the opinions of friends about it and its chances against the other community platforms I use.
But the “meta” information from the day is more important than the actual discussions. The metadata tells me that the feeling of being linked to others of like mind is more powerful than jobs, economies, almost any competing activity. People up-end their lives to be part of these communities. People who are not really geeks, like my friend Michael Vandervert, a human resource specialist in Florida, are involved. Michael is a spiritual person who believes in the power of connections.
I can’t help drawing a parallel to my Blueprint for Survival workshops. The one coming up on April 20 filled up in two days. Why? Because when people lose their jobs they lose their communities, and if they don’t have these online platforms already in place, they’re stuck trying to figure out how to work LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, however, is not a true community, as Twitter is, or Friendfeed. Or even Facebook. If you lose your job, your wife, your 401(k) these communities offer empathy, help, alternatives. LinkedIn only offers a chance to do the “work” in networking. But what we really need is the “net” — the circle that draws us in so we don’t feel alone.