What’s The End Goal?
After reading through Rheingold’s book Net Smart, I have been many things. I have been confused, I have been enlightened, I have had my ‘aha’ moments and I have even been inspired. Closing in on the end of Chapter five, a disturbing question crept into my mind. What is the goal? Perhaps a question more to the point is-what should my goal be?
Rheingold has covered getting online, navigating information, how to participate and contribute online, creating social capital, gaining attention, and the inner workings of social networks. What am I supposed to do with this? Rheingold writes books and contributes to the online community for monetary compensation. He may be helping the greater good by sharing (adding value), but in the end, he does it because it allows him to make a living. Should I be blogging and tweeting in order to drive traffic to my blog in order to make a living? In order to keep the scope of this blog focused, I will use an example situation.
I have a passion for land stewardship e.g. cultivating crops, timber stand improvement, wildlife habitat improvement, soil health, and native flora and fauna enrichment. If I decide to blog about this topic, I will definitely be in the long tail…I have a feeling more towards the tip. I understand the principles of developing relationships inside this community and creating social capital. Am I doing something wrong by stopping there? Would being a bridge within that community be enough? Should I still be linked to and follow people in the tech world, politics, and the business world? Would only investing in my passion erode my online health?
I could go on with a hundred questions along those lines. The obvious answer would be “whatever makes you happy”, but I don’t think that is it. Can the concepts laid out in the book be a guide to an overall more enriched life? Is that the goal? In the end, I understand the ideas presented in the book, but I am questioning the application.
Did this book change your idea of online navigation and interaction? Will it change the way you participate within online groups? Most important, what will you do with the information that Rheingold has discussed?