So James Franco has declared that 'Social Media Is Over' and done the unthinkable...he has shut down his Twitter account.
Will the world stop spinning? Is this the end of western civilization? What next, will people stop asking questions on Quora, will they cease to publish photos on Facebook, will we see the end of Skype-messaging? Worst of all, might the long-awaited Godot known as "Enterprise 2.0" now never turn up?
Well I have news for us all: Franco may be righter than he knows.
It is not that Social Media Is Dead, however. It is that "Social Media" itself is too fanciful a term, right up there with "Social Shopping."
Personally I am not convinced that Twitter is primarily a social medium, I see it more as a collaboration tool that has been momentarily sidelined and become stereotyped in its usage despite its infinite applicability.
But then that is the curse of "Social" - the word has a track record of bogging down all that it engulfs.
One example. I am so ancient that when I first studied "Social" and Political Science at Cambridge, there wasn't even a Social Science faculty, my degree course was affiliated to the Committee of Social & Political Science. Adding the word "Social" to science, back in the day, was akin to adding the word "Fair" to trade. People smelled a rat!
Now it gets added to anything and everything, so that we have the Social Graph, we have Social Data, and we even have Social Authority. But the mother and father of all the "Social" colloquies remains "Social Media."
Let's see whether James Franco's move this week triggers a debate as to whether we are not about to see a correction in the international marketplace of ideas, a retrenchment from the strangely misguided notion that the hand the writes the most Tweets rules the world.
No wonder China is out-pacing the U.S. on so many metrics of productivity and economic progress: according to Nielsen, social networking now accounts for 22% of all time spent online in the U.S.