I was laid off from Yahoo! 4 days ago. Since then, it feels like things have happened at warp speed: new phone, computer, home office set up, tons of transition planning, lots of thinking about not only what I have to accomplish right now, but what do I want to do next.
With the power of social media, so much of this process is happening transparently, and in what feels like almost real time. Social media tools make sharing information, connecting around situations, and communicating with large and diverse groups of people–both one to one and more broadly–happen amazingly fast.
Here are some of the observations of what’s different about how we can use social media to communicate today.
1. Broadcast capabilities have multiplied and improved
2. Tribal affiliations mean people who have never met in person feel connected
3. Information transfers far more quickly and efficiently
4. Your personal brand is out there and quickly read
Here’s the detailed view:
Broadcast capabilities have multiplied and improved.
Back in 2003, when I was laid off from AOL, I didn’t yet have a blog. Most people didn’t (I started one that March). Letting people know what had happened to me was a slow, laborious process based on sending lots of emails. The way I looked for work was to talk and email with people and to subscribe to lots of email lists like the KTlist and to check job post, job sites, etc (I ended up deciding to start my own consulting firm, which I did, successfully.)
Today, blogging, FB, twitter helped me notify people simultaneously that I had lost my job. The news rippled so quickly that far more people learned this fact far more quickly than in 2003, and with a lot less time spent on communicating it on my part.
Tribal affiliations mean people who have never met in person feel connected.
Mimi Ito started writing about Digital Nomads and high tech tribalism a few years ago, and her work becomes increasingly more relevant as social media moves these concepts to the center.
In other words, people who have never met share identity in community because of shared interests, values, friends or lifestyle. Sometimes, this is people wanting to friend someone they perceive as famous or prominent; other times it is friending a perceived(yet unknown) peer.
In the case of my news, tribal affiliations meant that people who I did not directly know, but who read my blog or followed my tstream had feelings–and responses–around the news. Similarly, my extended network for friends on FB responded quickly.
In 2003, these tools just didn’t exist, showing that social networking supports affinity in a broader and yet more focused way than I’d thought.
Information transfers far more quickly and efficiently
Back in 2003, the press looked to companies for news.
This week, journalists watched the blogosphere, the twitter stream and even flickr for news related to the Yahoo! layoffs. They found lots of fodder, first from Ryan’s posts, then mine, and later Chip & Randy’s (among others). The interplay between press and bloggers–a new form of symbiosis– intensified the ripple effect, so much so that this post is currently #4 under my name at Google search.
Your personal brand is out there and quickly read
There is no question that the reason my news had impact was because I am a blogger and active in the tech/media/geek communities, as well as someone who’s been in the industry for 13+ years. My *presence* aka my personal brand was based on things I have done, said and written over time, many of which are available online, or have been chronicled as part of other records (talks, conference appearances and attendances, etc.).
In 2003, people had personal web sites, but there was no way to so quickly form the many-sided view of a person you can get fairly quickly today, if you have some context. What this means is not only can a broader mass of people feel like they *know* me (or anyone embedded in social media), but that employers and colleagues can form quick opinions as well.
Conclusion:
The tools are working. Hurricane Katrina, an Obama video, or some other piece of news can get quick play, but so can something as small as someone’s job loss–and that is pretty amazing.

I was laid off from Yahoo! 4 days ago. Since then, it feels like things have happened at warp speed: new phone, computer, home office set up, tons of transition planning, lots of thinking about not only what I have to accomplish right now, but what do I want to do next.
With the power of social media, so much of this process is happening transparently, and in what feels like almost real time. Social media tools make sharing information, connecting around situations, and communicating with large and diverse groups of people–both one to one and more broadly–happen amazingly fast.
Here are some of the observations of what’s different about how we can use social media to communicate today.
1. Broadcast capabilities have multiplied and improved
2. Tribal affiliations mean people who have never met in person feel connected
3. Information transfers far more quickly and efficiently
4. Your personal brand is out there and quickly read
Here’s the detailed view:
Broadcast capabilities have multiplied and improved.
Back in 2003, when I was laid off from AOL, I didn’t yet have a blog. Most people didn’t (I started one that March). Letting people know what had happened to me was a slow, laborious process based on sending lots of emails. The way I looked for work was to talk and email with people and to subscribe to lots of email lists like the KTlist and to check job post, job sites, etc (I ended up deciding to start my own consulting firm, which I did, successfully.)
Today, blogging, FB, twitter helped me notify people simultaneously that I had lost my job. The news rippled so quickly that far more people learned this fact far more quickly than in 2003, and with a lot less time spent on communicating it on my part.
Tribal affiliations mean people who have never met in person feel connected.
Mimi Ito started writing about Digital Nomads and high tech tribalism a few years ago, and her work becomes increasingly more relevant as social media moves these concepts to the center.
In other words, people who have never met share identity in community because of shared interests, values, friends or lifestyle. Sometimes, this is people wanting to friend someone they perceive as famous or prominent; other times it is friending a perceived(yet unknown) peer.
In the case of my news, tribal affiliations meant that people who I did not directly know, but who read my blog or followed my tstream had feelings–and responses–around the news. Similarly, my extended network for friends on FB responded quickly.
In 2003, these tools just didn’t exist, showing that social networking supports affinity in a broader and yet more focused way than I’d thought.
Information transfers far more quickly and efficiently
Back in 2003, the press looked to companies for news.
This week, journalists watched the blogosphere, the twitter stream and even flickr for news related to the Yahoo! layoffs. They found lots of fodder, first from Ryan’s posts, then mine, and later Chip & Randy’s (among others). The interplay between press and bloggers–a new form of symbiosis– intensified the ripple effect, so much so that this post is currently #4 under my name at Google search.
Your personal brand is out there and quickly read
There is no question that the reason my news had impact was because I am a blogger and active in the tech/media/geek communities, as well as someone who’s been in the industry for 13+ years. My *presence* aka my personal brand was based on things I have done, said and written over time, many of which are available online, or have been chronicled as part of other records (talks, conference appearances and attendances, etc.).
In 2003, people had personal web sites, but there was no way to so quickly form the many-sided view of a person you can get fairly quickly today, if you have some context. What this means is not only can a broader mass of people feel like they *know* me (or anyone embedded in social media), but that employers and colleagues can form quick opinions as well.
Conclusion:
The tools are working. Hurricane Katrina, an Obama video, or some other piece of news can get quick play, but so can something as small as someone’s job loss–and that is pretty amazing.