It was a November morning when as I walked to work, snowflakes began floating though the brisk, fall air. My cheeks and nose were cold and my fingers were feeling a little tingly. My breath was easily seen as I exhaled warmth into the cold, chilled air surrounding me. As the glistening snowflakes appeared in front of me and quickly fell to the ground in front of my eyes, they were transformed from beautiful, white snowflakes to raindrops. If I didn't pay attention to the beauty of the snowflakes, I would have missed the experience completely, because within seconds, the white flakes were gone. As I walked and saw this happening, I thought about pulling out my phone. Within milliseconds my brain was thinking, "what app will I use to capture this and send it out to my friends?" I really wanted to snap a photo, capture the beauty and essence of the season's first flakes and type something profound and send it off into the wonderful world of social media. I missed it. The moment had passed, and I was shrouded in sadness and disappointment. I could not help but think about the immediacy of the moment. In just a moment's time, I had experienced something beautiful, thought about how to capture it and send it out to my world, and then poof -- gone. I continued my journey to work, looking for yet another moment just like the one I just experienced, hoping I would be so fortunate. I wasn't.
The thought of immediacy stayed with me. I just couldn't let it go. My exquisite life experience and social media had instantly crossed paths at the same moment in time.
Finally, I got to my office, ready to start the day. Thoughts began to flood into my brain, as they usually do in the morning. I couldn't help but think about the instant clashing of life and social experiences that occurred in a matter of seconds. This triggered my brain to play games with itself and have a parallel thought stream going simultaneously (which happens a lot with me). That dual stream of consciousness was all about the social media I use each day and how it allows me to interact immediately. I was also thinking about how quickly social media companies pop-up, become mainstream and then go away, just like the snowflakes did in front of my eyes.
Ah, the immediacy of life and social media became clearer now.
My brain was now speeding like a race car, thinking about how I had interacted in the past 24 hours with many social media channels -- some a little and some quite extensively. (Skype, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Google+, Hootesuite, Evernote, Google Docs, Google Bookmarks, VSnap, Infogr.am, Grammarly to name a few). The functionality they deliver and the sense of immediacy that allows me to connect and create experiences is quite amazing. The experience I encountered with the snowflakes combined with my parallel thoughts about social media forced me to think about the common traits they both share.
My life is about people, communication, personal connectivity and the speed of interaction. The social media apps I use to accomplish these simple tasks are mostly wrapped around speed, simplicity and instant creative communication. Life and social media cross paths continually in my world.
One of the reasons social apps are created is so people can use them while being mobile. Immediacy and simplicity is key. But I want to bring to light a different way of looking at this. If social apps are so immediate, does that mean they will soon be obsolete because the next competing app will take its place because it has something better, cooler or dare I say, more immediate? Some things in life are immediate. Social media is also immediate in how it allows people to interact. Did you ever wonder about the immediacy of how some social media companies enter the market and exit on a moment's notice? I was now beginning to see even more parallels of life and social media. Its not just about immediacy and consumer interaction, it's about real business with real people trying to flourish.
Sometimes the Greatest Experiences Are Free
Sometimes the greatest things in life are free. Most social experiences are free. Snowflake experiences are free. If you can figure out how to prolong the experience of both and still navigate the immediacy aspects, you may just have answered a question that many are still trying to figure out. The clashing immediacy of life and social media will continue to happen. However, I will have no idea when. As life rolls on, I will continue to look for that next moment in time when I can freeze, access the right social media app and capture life as it passes in front of me. It might be a snowflake, a sunset, a child laughing. When I seize the moment, it will be exciting and many people in my social sphere will know about it too. When it does touch them with just the right sense of immediacy and urgency, maybe it will create a unique experience for them as it did for me. This experience is where life and social media instantly cross paths at the same moment in time -- and it's all for free. Wow!