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Last week I praised companies such as Amazon, EBay, Glassdoor & Reevoo – as recommendations are playing such a big part in their business model and in the satisfaction the individual receives. It’s fantastic and hopefully an inspiration for more companies to give individuals a platform to voice their praise & their concerns. An inspiration for companies to use their strengths and positions within their industries to stand in the corner of the individual.

And that’s also the beauty of social media, isn’t it, the unfiltered interaction between individuals. The exchange, that can’t be controlled and can only be influenced by soft power. The ability to spread the word. The individual can be at least as influential as any corporate or as any government.  Mervyn Dinnen has described the four stages that excite him as “Connect, Engage, Share, Learn”. I agree – that’s what makes social media so immensely important, enjoyable and such a force.

But  – as Ben Parker said – with great power comes great responsibility: To nurture and foster this culture, this gem of pure peer to peer recommendations, interaction and engagement, it might be good to learn from other strands of media.

Let’s remind ourselves of the editorial independence of traditional media outlets. I know, there are some where the boundaries between editorial and commercial are blurred, but there are others such as the Daily Mail (whether you agree with its views or not) where it continues to exist. That is good and indeed important.

We – the social media – would do good to follow this example, declare commercial interests and influences wherever possible, as well as include diverse and wide reaching views. I have to admit, I quite like what @Monster_Works does with this last point in the US.

Let’s remind ourselves of academic research and its standard of accountability and transparency. Isn’t it cool how the most important part of any academic research is the section on methodology, when the authors explain their creation of reality? That gives such a great insight and invaluable understanding of the context.

Referencing is a given in its importance, in giving credit where credit is due and in therefore offering an extended reading list.

We – the social media – can learn from the standards, as it enables us to verify the source of facts that are given and assumptions that are made, whilst appreciating the fact that most blogs are just opinion pieces.

Let’s remind ourselves that blogging et al is such much more than just another business channel, that Twitter is more than just place to moan when we don’t find instant gratification, that Facebook updates and groups have consequences and affect people.

We – the social media – are doing better if we remember: We are citizens first, and consumers second (via @JerryKetel).

The most important point is that we continue to share our experiences, our dreams and our different perspectives and opinions, that we debate and learn. And as a result make life a whole lot more interesting, satisfactory and better.

Painting by Clay Vajgrt

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