Well, we're 1/12th of the way through 2011 and I still find myself having to passionately (sometimes too passionately) espouse the virtues of the social web. (I try my best not to get defensive, which is a challenge, but that's neither here nor there.)
FWIW, here are four random arguments I hear daily against the social web, along with my counterarguments:
- Online social networking will destroy old-fashioned in-person contact. I believe the social web expands both depth and breadth of relationships, and I don't think it's a replacement for in-person contact for the vast majority. My perspective is that it's pure enrichment: I know more interesting things about more people that I ever would have without social media. It strengthens the connective tissue among my relationships.
- Twitter doesn't have staying power. So what? Twitter is merely a property / platform. The behaviors it has created will only solidify. Twitter may pass, but only because something bigger and better has expanded on its foundation. The behaviors it has created are becoming part of what we as people do.
- "Checking in" is a waste of time. Checking in (via location-sharing mobile applications like Loopt, Gowalla, Facebook Places or Foursquare) means different things to different people. To some it's a way of enabling serendipity (my friend is having lunch near me so I'll go say hello), and to some it's a way of sharing something about themselves (I want to let my friends know I'm at the Statue of Liberty). Did we live just fine before location-sharing became possible? Sure. But now we get to share more things with more people and enable even more in-person interaction.
- I don't care what my friend is eating for lunch. Some content will always be uninteresting to some people across all media. That said, it takes me less time to read what my friend is eating than it does to read the subject line of a junk email, so really, what's the downside? Plus I think it can a) spark conversation and b) lead you to be exposed to something new.
There will always be battles to fight (I'm still fighting battles with Fortune 500 clients about why they should care about their websites); all we can do as digital champions is keep plugging away and picking off the naysayers one by one. Onward.