In 2008, I described the social web as the hippie web.
Some people thought that was funny, especially those who also thought that some of us evangelists was a little bit too … enthusiastic, shall we say. What can I say?
We we’re hippies. Social media hippies.
“Wow, we can connect with each other on a digital level, that’s rad, man!”
“Everything is open to everyone at anytime — welcome to Nirvana, dude!”
“You must open up your chakras… sorry, I meant activate your social graphs!”
“I accept all friend requests and you should, too. All you need is love!”
“You just got retweeted. It’s the universe paying it forward. Savour it.”
“Don’t say ‘IRL’ because what is reality, really? It’s that question that drives us.”
“I have thousands of followers. I wouldn’t call myself Jesus or anything, but I guess he had like twelve, right?”
“Yes, we have unconferences and everyone is welcome. Word to wise — don’t use your AFK name.”
“Where’s your scarf? No disrespect, but you look corporate.”
“I met a ‘traditional company’ yesterday. My gosh. They have no idea what’s going on.”
Maybe there’s a time for everything.
And maybe the time for the hippie web is over.
Declaring the hippie web dead
(Almost) everyone who started a blog on a whim has given up on their attempt at blogging long ago. Only a few still blog — for whatever reason. All digital conferences worth their salt are about how to use social media to make money now.
In the wake of the hippie web, no-one cares about how many followers you have on Twitter or what your Klout score is supposed to be.
The Cluetrain Manifesto is about to be forgotten, also.
No-one will miss this psychedelic wonderland brimming of naivete and social media optimism — except for us hippies, of course.
The social media influencers, the glossy fashionistas with their daily outfits and their parties and VIP invitations, they are already negotiating with their agents regarding their next corporate collaboration.
The most successful ones, the new generation of social media influencers, are probably making more money than making this world a better place. And what they can’t get from ad revenues, giveaways and freebies, they get from starting their own online businesses.
The irony of it all is that I feel no bitterness, no resentment. It had to end eventually. I will miss some aspects of the hippie web deeply. Other aspects? Not so much. And frankly, I strongly suggest we all move on.
As we, “the hippie web experts”, the social media naturals, move on from singing Kumbaya on our unconferences to more serious activities like new ventures, new digital professions, and new technologies, just let me say this in honor of this bygone era:
Let’s never forget that the bottom line is all about one thing and one thing only — human beings connecting with each other.
And Jaiku, of course.
Let’s not forget about Jaiku.
CTA: Share your best #hippieweb memory on Twitter. Let’s hold hands and get nostalgic together — one last time.