The dead squirrel paradigm and social media

Earlier in the year, I spotted a dead squirrel near a large tree in the neighbor's yard. My best guess is that this unlucky critter was hanging on to a weak section of bark and clung to it while plunging to death. This raises one of the most important challenges of social media: When do you hang on? Or, when do you get out of a social space?

For a lot of early adopters, MySpace presented the first of these dead squirrel moments. Clearly, if your friends and colleagues leave a site and are replaced by ne'er-do-wells, you may be dangling by a thread. Less dramatic examples of sites that have not commanded mass interest among my social groups include Hashable, Waze and Fring. Although I thought Yammer might catch on in the office, most of my colleagues thought otherwise. So, here I am looking at my iPhone home screen. The Yammer app sits right next to the more popular Linkedin for business contacts. Google+ is there, too. At some point, the survivor in me will ask the question: Which one of these must go to make room for X (insert next Big Thing)? If upon asking the question you feel dizzy from the fall, know you are facing a dead squirrel moment. Change or cling, as you crash to the social media pavement. The best advice comes from one of the greatest college basketball coaches: "keep moving."


The mobile media transition

Hurricane Irene is yet another example of how we are rapidly shifting from an era of mass consumption of live over-the-air and cable television to mobile media. For those disconnecting from expensive, bundled packages and missing 24/7 TV coverage, Justin.TV and other online options model the future.

Mobile media options still lack the identity of the cable channels, but the desire to  have media on the go -- especially in weather conditions that knock power out -- is strong. I see a media world coming that allows us to filter happy talk, augment information through interaction and crowd-sourcing, and build smarter consumer communities. Twitter networks are the best current example of how text and links produce a richer media experience during storms, political uprisings, and other breaking news and events. It's exciting to take some of the control away from media conglomerates and place it back in the hands of the people. Democracy will be strengthened through mobile media in this century.