The Internet, in the last eight years, has become mostly about people. Social media allows us all to have a voice, and search algorithms favour the content we all can create over anything manipulated by machines.
Are we all making the best of this? In my opinion, we could use the opportunities given to us by this open Web so much better.
Speak for Yourself starts from a simple premise: How would the reality on the Internet change if we all had an online identity and voice we could use comfortably and naturally?
Currently if you want to learn about ‘social media’, the training will tend to have a clear set of targets, depending on the professional background of both the trainer and the trainee. If you are a public servant, you will be given Key Performance Indicators – in most other cases, you will do social in order to market something, or yourself; in order to give good PR to your or other organisations. Etc.
We have ended up with a bunch of experts and agencies that do social for everyone else.
We forget that that’s not what social is *meant* for.
The strength of the current, open, human-scale platforms is exactly that we can all use them with a tiny learning curve. Before learning what social can do, we need to understand that the basis of it all is us taking part. Who are we talking to otherwise, if we all only broadcast? Measurements and targets before the basic realisation of a human presence only serve to keep us from being fully there, listening, talking to and connecting with other humans.
The wider the scope of our online presence, the more we can fully use it and the more we can achieve.
But in order for everyone to take part and connect with each other, we need a minimum set of skills to adopt.
The first part of Speak for Yourself makes the case for everyone to develop a personal online identity. The advantages of doing so will be, for one thing, better, more informed decisions made by organisations about the adoption of social technologies. The book aims to give enough actual information to everyone grappling with the current, totally fractured approaches, to make the choices that are right for the long term.
It also aims to give a minimum background knowledge of currently existing platforms and why we should cherish and maintain their openness.
In the second part, the book describes the practical skill set necessary for a minimum useful online identity, and ways of adopting these skills.