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The collective social story one post, tweet and ping at a time

I am feeling especially reflective as we approach the end of 2011.  It has been quite a year.  It was not the Christmas music, and sappy TV commercials that brought me to this place; it was actually Facebook’s introduction of Timeline that triggered my pause for reflection – that and a Twitter exchange between myself and one of my esteemed Twitter colleagues.

We were musing [within our 140 characters complete with hashtags of course] about how Social Media has made us into “Life Scribes” as it were, documenting not just pop culture and news applicable to the masses, but also the daily life, relationships, work, connections, the desires and dreams of well…everyone on the planet.

I was reviewing Mashable’s most memorable tweets of 2011,  amoung them of course were tweets reflecting on the death of Apple’s Steve Jobs.  I personally will always remember where I was when I read that first tweet.  As I shared this experience with millions of others; celebrities, and just every day you and I people,  I realized that I was using my iPad to watch and listen to reflections on the life of one of the people who made this all possible.  Of course I had to offer my thoughts on his passing as a contributor to the conversation, [because thats just what we do…we just can’t help ourselves anymore] and my iPad allowed me to take part in the collective sentiment that was shared by millions – as it happened.

Social media and our ability to always be connected and interconnected has made us all story tellers, journalists, photographers, artists and sometimes therapists. The devices that connect us to our social networks have enabled us to participate in our world far outside what we were able to do only a few years ago.

Consider that we are now getting birthday wishes from people from all area’s and times of our lives on Facebook.  Well wishes posted to our walls from childhood friends, to business colleagues, to family and friends –  allowing us a connectedness to people and experiences that would have been impossible to maintain and grow in the past.

This summer, I also experienced the sudden passing of a dear friend and mentor through social media.  Through posts on Facebook, I shared and heard from others who Clive Hobson had touched throughout his life, people and sentiments I would have never known in attending a service or reading an obituary.

We are sharing music, personal photo’s, locations, and are able to express ourselves with words; comments and reflections [and sometimes overused quotes from dead philosophers, Deepak Chopra and Oprah…but I digress…], but more importantly, we are now contributors to the collective story and not simply passive observers.

As a self proclaimed “Life Scribe“, I feel especially responsible to reflect on my highlights and observations of the past year as they played out in our digital world…so here they are:

1. Google tries to catch up:  Google+, and changes to search algorithms reflect consumers adoption to social media.

2. Tablets are the new black: iPad2, Blackberry Playbook, Amazon Kindle +++ make their way into our homes and offices and become a go-to device, and allow us to connect like never before.

3. Twitter found its place: The social media platform with the most nay-sayers found its place in the world this year as the place to be and be seen – and for up to the minute news, updates and access to celebrities and brands.

4. Mark Zuckerberg: Yes the man behind the machine is still working it out in his hoodie – with a few more public appearances this year keeping us all guessing what’s next.

I wonder where our new collective narratives will take us in the coming year…all I can promise is that I will do my part in documenting it.

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