he of the "Where in the World is Matt" videos maybe one of the best driveway moments of the year thus far. Matt says that the one thing he's learned from all of his dancing around the world is that "People want to feel connected to each other. They want to be heard and seen, and they're curious to hear and see others from places far away." He goes on to suggest that there's an inherent conflict today because our brains can deal with our tribe, but not the greater tribe that is our social networks.
I think he's right, but I'd take it a step further, which is that people inherently want to connect with people who share the same interests, whether those interests are dancing silly dances or debating the principles of social media measurement or the pros and cons of a broadway musical.
So many people say to me that they don't see the "point" of Twitter. And I see their point. If you don't see the "point" i.e. value, in a conversation or a connection with someone because of a shared interest, you won't see the point of social networking. Is it any more worthwhile to start a conversation with your seat neighbor on the plane, or the guy next to you in the bar? Depends how you define "worthwhile" -- Obviously some of these conversations turn into business opportunities, The vast majority are just exchanges of opinions and a bit of ones personal story. Is that valuable? For me it is. I happen to think that its a necessary part of being human, but not everyone would agree. I'm sure there's a curmudgeon born every minute.
However, if you find value in those connections, in the ideas that are shared across enormous geographical distances and cultural differences, then you will see the point in all of this social "conversation."
The problem comes when marketers invade Facebook and Twitter and the like because they see it as "worthwhile" in that its a new way to scream ever louder at a new audience. Not only will they find it hard to find ROI in that but they'll drive many of the good conversations away.
But that's the point. The tribe will keep talking, only the location will change.