Election day!

We have made it to one of the most important days in the American civic calendar.  Probably the most important day, in fact. We get to choose.

In America, we get so much choice that we have become inured to it. We can choose our food, our friends, our professions, our possessions. We can choose to do right or to do wrong; we can choose to endure or enjoy the consequences of our choices.

I spent a short time living abroad in places where the ability to choose was not so easy to come by, so I’m a little more aware of the luxury of choice than I was when I was younger. It amazes me that we can have so much when others have so little.

This blog is about social media, as readers know, so I have to bring the topic back there.  And this is one of those days where what’s happening in the world outside my office window intersects with the content on the blog. Social media embody the luxury of choice. All the concepts we’ve been discussing in class, from time value to conversation, from network theory to channels, come back to the idea that the individual can (sometimes should) choose from all the options available to him or her. The concepts we cover are embedded in the underlying assumption that there are options to choose from–something that we Americans often take for granted in our land of plenty. These concepts are based on further assumptions: that the individual acts as an individual; that the options all have consequences, though some are more significant than others; and that many of the options aren’t mutually exclusive.

Furthermore, social media rely on the fact that different people make different choices, and that individuals will choose to connect with like-minded others while coexisting, in various levels of comfort, with unlike-minded others.

And while social media seem to prize individual choice, their real value lies in the way they transform individual choices into communities of influence.

What a tribute to our messy, flawed, awkward, conflicted, wonderful democracy.

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2 thoughts on “Election day!

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  1. Hello fantastic website! Does running a blog like this take a lot of work?
    I’ve no knowledge of computer programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic but I just had to ask. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Roseanne–and thanks for the compliment!

      Running the blog is pretty easy; it’s coming up with content that’s more challenging. I’m not a super serious blogger, so I’m using it more like a journal than a business.

      For suggestions…find a hosting service that you like. There’s a whole flock of them out there, and most are pretty easy to use. I’m using WordPress, but my students (most of them novice bloggers) have had good luck with Blogger.

      Also, as this post notes, purpose is important. If you’re blogging for experience, make that your purpose for the time being. If you have something to say, make that your purpose. You can write about all sorts of seemingly random stuff, but the blog works best if you can find a way to bring the random stuff back to a specific purpose. You can change that purpose later, as I was trying to do here, but remember that when you do so, you’re making changes to the whole community that you work to build. Blogging is a community activity, even when it’s one person doing the writing.

      I hope this is helpful. Let me know when you get your blog running!

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