Social Media Literacy & “Pop” Culture

Posted by Jeff Smack, Art Director

A lot of people I speak to that are not yet on Twitter seem to be actively avoiding it. I’m not prepared to throw the term “luddite” around lightly but I would like to make a point. Whether Twitter is around in 5 years or not is irrelevant. It represents a communicative literacy that will be built upon.

When I was in high school people used to talk about getting a job in “computers.” This is meaningless today. Computers in the job market are as ubiquitous as oxygen in the Animal Kingdom. This is what I’m talking about. Social Media Literacy is going to be a part of every product and service (and the customer service behind it) from now on. It may not be called “Social Media” at that point but it will be built on what we are now calling “Social Media.”

Now, because I probably need to lighten up on my “Drink The Punch!” rant, I want to share a conversation that happened on Twitter through an interpreter: “Pop,” A Social Media doubter, communicates with the Twitterverse through his son, the ultimate believer and Social Media Champion, Dave. The topic brought in a lot of response and interesting descriptions of what Twitter is exactly, or approximately.

madmain: 12seconds – showing my dad 12seconds.tv http://tiny12.tv/3BMM8

madmain: I guess my Dad isn’t very “social” http://12seconds.tv/channel/madmain/125465

edovett: @madmain tell him we’ll say hi anyway!

(Dave explains to Pop that he has 11,000 followers.)

madmain: my dad on twitter: “I’m really wondering why 11,000 people would wanna read this garbage.”

madmain: I’m not doing well explaining what twitter is to my Pop….can anyone do a better job?

MaryHogan2: @madmain fun fun fun till the ice cream took the Twitter away.

jonnew: @madmain If you can’t I’m afraid no one can.

k8iedid: @madmain the biggest room imaginable with lots of shouting where it’s not rude to enter or leave any conversation you choose.

affiliate_dave: @madmain the online version of the gang meeting at the barbershop..lol

ggerth: @madmain Hi Pop, Twitter is talking and listening to as many people as you want all at the same time. Go Sparty!

madmain: @jonnew when I say stuff like “Twitter is a micro-blog” his eyes glaze over.

MikeNGarrett: @madmain AIM for old people, as in… archived chat messages addressed to “the internet”

JessicaLevin: RT @madmain: my dad on twitter: “I’m really wondering why 11,000 people would wanna read this garbage.”

edovett: @madmain TWitter is a very powerful tool to share links with information and sometimes even photos of earthqueake victims in Italy!

davesaunders: @madmain How about: Twitter is like a crowded movie theater where everyone brought their cell phone.

bbille: @madmain does he understand status updates on Facebook? If so, just tell him it’s like that. If not, it’s like passing notes in class.

WalkingHorse: @madmain lol! I suspect my dad would concur. 🙂

Eyebee: @madmain sounds like the sort of thing my father would have said. Why do you want to sit typing to strangers all night?

JugShop: @madmain Can he relate to conference calling? Better yet, party line? How old is Pop?

davesaunders: @madmain Twitter is what happens when a library explodes and people read individual sentences from scraps of paper while cleaning up.

jonnew: @madmain Think “lowest common denominator” language like “talking in sentences small enough to fit on a movie marquee.”

Addicted2Golf: @madmain Tell your Dad its real simple. Twitter is popular because we’re all out of work and poor. What the heck else do we have to do?

udayd: @madmain – i told my mom it was a place to leave random short comments about what i’m doing if she really wanted to stalk me.

madmain: @JugShop he says it sounds like the old party line…lots of nosy neighbors listening in. LOL!!!!!!

Melhi: @madmain It’s people sending/reading short msgs on everything from chit chat to business to… whatever. Each defines it by their use.

madmain: well Pop said “That’s very interesting. Say hello to all those folks for me. I’m going to bed.” End of twitter lesson. thanks guys!

(At this point Pop is bored enough and leaves but the conversation echoes on.)

GetFamous: @madmain Tell him it’s kind of like the old aol chat rooms except only filled with people you like.

MarianeMatera: @madmain Tell him it’s like telegrams to a group.

GetFamous: Right now is a great time to do a search for @madmain Topic is explaining twitter to his pops.

sparsonads: @madmain it’s a networking site that uses short sentences and links to share your life with others. A virtual conversation!

JugShop: @madmain exactly! except with twitter, you want and expect it. voluntary party line exhibitionism.

OldWorldLimited: @madmain How about…It’s like a conference call that is always on, and you can join in & drop out whenever you want.

(Conversation segues, topic over.)

This pro/con conversation is happening offline all over the world. I find this example compelling because it’s between a reluctant participant (unfamiliar with the platform) and the community itself (through a translator). The situation is a metaphor of itself! Thanks to Dave’s dad for being such a good sport!