As summertime is a period of reflection, in between applications of sunscreen and dips in the pool, thought I'd spend the next two columns pondering the good and the bad of social media, starting with the good part. (You're right. It is not a coincidence that I'll be on vacation during the two weeks these run, but a girl's gotta take a break every now and then, right?)
1. That when you muse online about whether you are experiencing a head cold or an allergy, a Facebook friend comes out of the woodwork and reminds you of a great remedy you had in the back closet, but had totally forgotten about in your Kleenex-filled haze.
2. That my friend Jim can pretty easily raise more than $11,000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (If you want to donate, click here.)
3. That, as a blogger/journalist/columnist, now I can take some responsibility for my own distribution, and there are more and more tools with which to do it.
4. That life now is full of more serendipity than it used to be, as old friends from high school and college get in touch (and some of them even like my geeky diatribes about digital media).
5. That as a mom who works from home and can't get into the city a lot, I've still been able to make literally dozens of contacts this year -- all while wearing T-shirts and flip-flops (or, in colder months, sweatpants).
6. That David Pogue can not only bring to light the issue of all those time and money-wasting canned voicemail instructions from the cell phone companies, but orchestrate a movement that seems to be getting noticed by those very same companies.
7. That embedding a video on your blog is as easy as cutting and pasting. (I know that's an oldie, but, really, when I stop to consider that a lot of my early career was spent mailing out huge NTSC cassettes to journalists, that we can do this is still absolutely astounding to me.)
8. That without all of these different social media inputs, I'd never have stumbled across my favorite comedy bit of the last five years.
9. That social media is killing focus groups, replacing them with real dialogue and insight that doesn't consist of whatever a marketing department thinks it wants to know about a brand.
10. That, Pollyannish as it may sound, sometimes when I'm exploring all of these channels with you guys, it feels like anything is possible.
Feel free to contribute yours below, and look out for next week's "Ten Things I Dislike About Social Media."