The Real Limit Of Social Media

The idea of social media has helped people and companies identify unmet needs which didn’t exist prior, and create value by solving them. Without the concept of producing and sharing videos online as activity for people to do, YouTube would be non existent (does anyone know what the real idea was behind YouTube?). After that concept was cemented and brought to life by YouTube, now a whole new series of problems came into existence; what YouTube was missing or how it didn’t serve the needs of particular niches created new opportunities for companies.

Social media is great at that. It’s great at perpetually moving itself forward through the identification of needs. And as O’Reilly recently wrote in Work on Stuff that Matter: First Principles, “Create more value than you capture.” Really successful startups get that way by setting out to create more value for their users than for themselves. If a company isn’t doing that they should shut their doors right now.

But I digress.

Funny enough that already 5 years ago, as with all technology, everybody thought the Internet had reached its peak. All of the problems had been solved and the barriers to accomplishing big goals were all already removed. Add on top of that another half-decade of user enablement and problem solving (without things getting much simpler mind you), now more than ever if there’s something you want to do it’s possible.

But even though social media has this great power of very quickly developing methods to help users accomplish new things that were inaccessible to them before, it has one immutable limitation to it.

The Human element.



There’s a lot that can be said about the biggest obstacle in now being your own ambition and drive. But thankfully as people start to learn what the problem is, you can solve it. You can. This is not a problem that someone else will ever be able to create a solution for.

The question is: In a world where everybody is given the keys to a life of not only survival, but of self-discovery, what are you going to do?

(Unfortunately not everyone in the world is given the same opportunities as us in the west, and because of that I subscribe to Seth Godin‘s point of view all this opportunity that we’ve been given acting more as  an obligation that we have to take advantage of it.)

6 replies on “The Real Limit Of Social Media”

profound and compact post Malcolm. Thank you for writing this.

With respect to your question, "In a world where everybody is given the keys to a life of not only survival, but of self-discovery, what are you going to do?", can be a pandora's box in and of itself…

I'd anticipate if anyone sees themselves as a bottleneck to their own progress many would shirk and slink away back into their comfort zones of what they perceive as "creating value".

This process of questioning their limits and capacity to contribute can paralyze or empower you depending on your mindset.

Thanks for the comment Will. I would predict that people *are* the greatest bottle neck in their productivity or in their growth (Again we get some insights by reading 4 Hour Work Week). Whether they know it or not, or are willing to acknowledge the fact is another matter.

That brings up a good question about how can that problem be solved? To relate it back to social media we can say that most social media applications have helped people from on interpersonal and relational perspective, not as much on inwardly focused aspects of being. (Sort of deep, still reflective of reality I think)

People can say whatever they want about how lucky successful people were in achieving their success but at the end of the day, they have made it more than a job and a integral aspect of their lives. For them their job and their aspirations are one and the same.

Successful people become that way because they spend every waking moment sculpting themselves to dominating their chosen field by becoming totally engrossed in learning all their is too learn about their said field.

I like Ferris' approach however it is more of a management strategy, not a 'how-to' success strategy.

The hands off management style ala Ferris is a necessary evolution of management style for a successful entrepreneur so they can enjoy the fruits of their work and move onto other projects, however you can't become successful without being fully dedicated.

Ferris can say what he wants about slacking and succeeding but he got through university with hard work. He fatigued his TA's and put more hours into pestering them about his marks and milking them for advice than anyone else. That is an exceptional strategy but one I don't have time for. I don't know how much that took up of his 'four hour work week'.

I definitely agree that given the tools at our disposal, our outcomes and what we achieve, is directly correlated to the amount of work we are prepared to put in. The only bottle neck in our North American economy is ourselves.

So what I think you're saying is that the hands off management practice is valid as something for successful entrepreneurs to practice, but it's not something that people can achieve through magic.

The process that people need to understand is that hours of dedicated hard work are required before they should expect to realise an epiphany.

No shortcuts, consistent hard work leads to rewards.

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