Gift economies, World Domination, and the 97% of the World Population that is Not on Twitter

“At 10 years old, you died of shame for not being able to swim
At 20, for not being able to drive
At 30, for not being able to tweet”

Went the newsletter sent out to the readers of My Little Paris, a daily newsletter, that hosted a “Tweet School” on Monday hosted by yours truly and Gregory Pouy.

When announced, it was criticized by some because, well — tweeting should be as natural as breathing, right?.. And yet–97% of the world population is NOT on Twitter (world stats from Wikipedia and Twitter stat from RWW).

And using Twitter… really does mean immerging yourself in a different culture to get the hang of it. When I first started, I pored over articles about who to follow, how to tweet, Twitter etiquette, etc. Being an anthro/soc-lover at heart, I discovered another culture. But..

Twitter can seem like a weird place, far far away

Twitter, among with any other number of social media tools can seem like outer space to people that have never used them before.

You just have to take a look at 5-year-olds (or younger) posting videos on YouTube of themselves giving make-up lessons or sharing why it’s important for a girl to have a job before she gets married (or else she’ll find someone else, DAMMIT) to see that kids are already using the web to interact with others, collaborate, and comment, without even realizing the cultural implications. As the authors of Wikinomics point out, “while their parents were passive consumers of media, youth today are active creators of media content and hungry for interaction.”

the end of the world is coming

Or at least the world as we know it. OK, I’ll admit it — I believe in the Mayan prophecies and that the world is going to end in 2012. Not the physical world, though ; just the world as we know it. Every day there is a revolution of some sort, it seems — political, cultural, ethical, you name it. Ray Kurzweil predicted the exponential acceleration of technological and innovational change, and the daily newspaper proves him right every day.

It seems like now you can even predict certain situations or say you could have seen it coming. The photo of Kate Middleton as she crouched down on the royal balcony was bound to be photoshopped so it looked she she was giving him… a first wedding gift..

no adult left behind

It’s up to those of us that are continually using the web to show others why it’s important that they be there, young and old. The Web provides unlimited opportunities. Two years ago, I first began working online as a community manager. And I’ve never looked back. If I hadn’t started working online, I never would have moved to Paris, or met some amazing friends, be living where I am, staying in a Shangri-La Hotel, — the list goes on.

For those that haven’t made the digital jump, though, people that have blogs, and post videos, and use Twitter can still seem like straight-out geeks. Which is a hindrance not just between generations, but has serious implications for business.

Which leaves me with two thoughts…

1. Are we headed towards a gift economy?

Gary Vaynerchuck calls it the “Thank you Economy,” but will those that are digitally savvy give their time to help others learn how to use various tools as they emerge (many of you do already, just by having a blog. It’s just up to “offline people” to find them and read them). In gift economies, money isn’t king — it’s intangible things that are valuable. i.e. every time you give someone a hand by recommending their product, introducing them to someone, teaching them something, you earn status. It’s not about how much money you have, it’s about how much you offer to others that makes you “rich” and influential.

2. Or are geeks and digital natives about to take over the world?

Or will those that are digitally savvy become insanely rich as they exploit “offline people” for their lack of knowledge about the subject forever becoming the future rulers of the New Order? After all, if news breaks first on Twitter (and now it’s starting to), those of us that are connected are “in the know” well in advance of anyone waiting to watch it on TV or listen to it on the radio.

(Digital) knowledge is power, isn’t it?

What do you think? 
(I have to throw in a side note that I’m all about the karma, man. What goes around comes around..)

Your turn : 

18 responses to “Gift economies, World Domination, and the 97% of the World Population that is Not on Twitter

  1. I’ve wrote a comment this morning and it seems to be lost 😦

  2. Doesn’t work again…

  3. Michelle you redacting comments on your blog?

    Seriously, I don’t think news breaks first on twitter. Rumors do, not news. For something to be news it needs to be backed up by a credible source and as much as I love twitter I think traditional media still has journalist which look at reports and then make it news.

    On an even more serious note, I’m really glad you didn’t listen to the haters and did the Tweet school.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, John. It seems like news IS breaking on Twitter, even if it sometimes needs to be backed up, but Im also glad we didnt listen to people that would rather feel superior than reach out 😉

      Thanks for stopping bu!


      Sent from my iPhone

  4. [Rewritten and maybe not as good as the previous one…]
    Michelle (4th times retrying maybe the good one ^^)
    You exactly pointed out the facts of a shifting era between the past world (aka the traditional world) and the new “digital” world which seems to be much more agressive and surrounded by risk aversions.
    Digital knowledge doesn’t seem to be easy for some of our fellows nor to those who criticize our (good) actions.
    The dark side of human behavior will always occur in niches market.
    On the contrary they won’t take place in a wide environment because of domination aspects they won’t be able to deal with.
    That’s why some leaders have to act as good preachers to show the way to people who need Twitter and many other platforms to evolve and share more conversation on healthy ecosystems.
    Last thought about the gift economy : gifts are good for pleasure, for good living, for real help.
    Help online is the next big thing, but won’t be good if we care about those who doesn’t have the intelligence to sustain our actions (i.e. the Tweet School).
    I advise you to definitely drop out this bunch of criticizing people and look further ahead for a glossy way.
    [Now I hope it will be loaded…]

    • THIS time it worked!! 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, as always, Yael, I love them. I agree that you can’t let haters get to you, and I’m not sure if the world is more aggressive than it used to be, but it’s definitely more transparent. Those that would spread a message — can. And do. Which is good and bad. To follow…

  5. Yes finally !!
    Well I’m following all your says…
    Cheers Madame 🙂

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