The Social Media Flame War and "Goodwill Hunting"

The beauty of social media is that everyone can do it. With a little reading, homework, testing, analyzing and effort, anyone can be a guru. As a result, the space is like a crowded supermarket on a half-off coupon day. It's packed. Some know how to shop smart, some just look good shopping.

One thing "gurus" like to do is tie everything that trends online - literally everything - to a lesson learned.

This was the case with the death of Osama Bin Laden. Just Google his name and the words social media lessons and see what you come up with.

One result that should pop up in the wash is a post written by my buddy @MSGiro over at Technorati, titled, "What Osama Bin Liden Taught Me About Scrapbooking".

Based on my intro, you're probably guessing this is another lesson learned post.

Wrong. In fact, it's the polar opposite.

Marc takes a poke at the likes of Peter Shankman (who responded very negatively in the comments) and Brian Solis -- two popular social media types -- about their take on the Bin Laden story as it relates to social media and the power of citizen journalism (or lack of "speed" for traditional media).

The opening of the post sets the tone:

That might be the world’s most inane title for a blog post. It is. Stories of Osama Bin Laden, his terrible social media strategy, lessons learned from Bin Laden and other ridiculous topics surfaced almost immediately. Just like scrapbooking, all of it is critically insane.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I am the executive editor of Technorati, but i had nothing to do with the post. In fact, my co-executive editor -- a snarky dude himself -- published it.

The point I'm trying to make here is that every once and a while we need to take it to the mattresses. We need to check in with eachother, pull our cards and call a spade a spade. Often times people are scared to throw grenades, despite the situation calling for such an action.

Can we learn anything from the Bin Laden story and social media? Eh, I'm not entirely sure about that. The lesson is the same repetitive stuff and has been written about over and over again. We've experienced it too many times not to understand the process by now. We all know that news breaks fast and travels the world at an incredible speed. And yes, traditional news won't be the delivery vehicle of breaking infomation ever again. The web, social media services and the people using them will (consumers and the media alike). 

So the next time a story breaks and you read it on Twitter. Be on the look out for "lessons learned" posts. The web will be flooded with them. In fact, you, yes you, should write one as well. After all, we can all be gurus. Just do a little reading, practice, dive into to creating content, etc. It's not brain surgery. In fact, Robin Williams character said it best in the movie "Good Will Hunting"...

Skip to the 3:49 mark.