by Brian Solis

Following my trip to Hamburg for the Next09 conference, I flew to Stockholm Sweden to serve as one of the keynote speakers at Disruptive Media hosted by Annika Lidne and Bjorn Falkevik. It was an incredible and inspiring opportunity to meet and learn from the catalysts who are changing the media and communications industry in Sweden. Fellow new PR and social media pioneers Steve Rubel and Chris Heuer also joined me.

Extending the discussion of the Social Economy I reviewed during Next09, I explored the separation of the “Me” from Social Media and the advantages of a holistic practice of concerted listening and ongoing observation to shape our participation in the Social Web.

Collectively, we all share the need to discover who we are and why matter to those with whom we wish to connect. But, we should also share a common desire to rise above the noise and establish a formidable and valuable online presence and defined human network that transcends from the online world to the real world.

Why is anyone better off for following or friending us?

As a digital society, we are individually investing in our social capital spurred by unconscious and also deliberate acts that unknowingly convey complacence and fuel an ambition to acquire notoriety and recognition.

Self-importance versus self awareness…

While we are captivated by the ability to broadcast through the statusphere and in the process, procure friends and followers, we loose sight of the true opportunity represented by the Social Web. It’s not the ability to share what we want, when we want. It’s not the rewards of popularity and the illusion of fandom. This is a chance and a means to forge a network of influence based on the expertise and knowledge we amass and share.

Social Capital isn’t the currency of The Social Economy after all, it is merely a stature that is representative of what we share, the relationships we earn, and the perception others form based on our participation and contribution in social networks and IRL (in real life).

Attention has officially emerged as the portal to the Social Economy and in order to capture it, we must create or share content so intriguing, relevant, and thoughtful that it forces action and ideally triggers a response.

Content is still king and therefore information symbolizes the true currency of the Social Economy.

Twitter, Facebook, TweetDeck, FriendFeed, Seesmic, PeopleBrowsr, Tweetie, et al, have emerged as our attention dashboards. It’s where we share, update, consume, and learn. We click away and return based on the content that flows through our timeline.  It’s the ideas we share, the personality we portray, the stories we tell, the individuals we spotlight, and the dissemination of the things that inspire and teach us that increase our chances of capturing attention to connect and motivate.


Sometimes we benefit from the art of practicing restraint in order to breathe in the essence of the community we wish to galvanize. The Social Web is not a right, it should be embraced as a privilege. In the end, we earn the attention and the relationships we earn and nurture.

We must transform how we participate and engage online to shift from talking “at” people to investing in the collective consciousness of those communities we wish to influence, foster, and promote.

We must believe we have something to learn.

We must have something of value to share.

None of this is Social “Me”dia, it’s about the journey we share and not the destination. This is our time to contribute to a more meaningful and mindful future of media and communications. Our culture and societal values are ours to define – for better or for worse. The question is, whether or not we take responsibility for the social physics that shape its direction and governance.

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story…

Chris Heuer

Annika Lidne

Paula Marttila

Henriette Weber

Björn Falkevik

Brian Solis

Pictures of Stockholm, Sweden…

Please visit my albums on Flickr for more pictures from Disruptive Media and Stockholm Sweden.

Connect with me on:
, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Plaxo, Plurk,, BackType, or Facebook

About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Visit Brian's page at

Comments are closed.