Here’s my expanded recap of the KANEKO event, Relationships 2.0? – How New Social Media is Reshaping Your Mind. I added back in a few of the questions from the Q&A, a description of psychoanalysts, and some commentary from me. (The original post can be found on Silicon Prairie News by clicking here.)
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I’m hoping to understand 10% of what’s said. -overheard, before event, from an older woman
The iPhone has changed life. -Dr. Jean-Pierre Klotz
Why Facebook and not Twitter? -question posed to the panel by Hal France
We are becoming cyborgs. -Rahul Gupta
The conversation was billed by KANEKO as Relationships 2.0? – How New Social Media is Reshaping Your Mind. I had my own ideas about what was going to be shared during the discussion, I just didn’t think I’d be walking around later wondering, “I think Rahul is on to something with that cyborg line”.
French Psychoanalyst Dr. Jean-Pierre Klotz was the main speaker for this conversation. Amy Mather, Rahul Gupta and Joe Gerstandt joined him for the panel discussion.
Now, if you’re like me, and you don’t have the best grasp of what a psychoanalysis is, Wikipedia defines it as:
A body of ideas developed by Austrian physician Sigmund Freud and continued by others. It is primarily devoted to the study of human psychological functioning and behavior, although it can also be applied to societies. Psychoanalysis has three applications:
  1. a method of investigation of the mind and the way one thinks;
  2. a systematized set of theories about human behavior;
  3. a method of treatment of psychological or emotional illness

I think we’re all aware social media is changing how we interact with one another, our work, businesses. Basically, life in general. Thinking that, I was intrigued to hear what a scientist, Dr. Klotz, would have to say about how it has affected our minds since social media is here to stay.
Quickly, I should add that while Dr. Klotz’s English was good (French is his native language), I missed bits here and there while trying to take notes on what he shared.
Dr. Klotz started off by explaining why someone like him, a French intellectual, would be so fascinated with social media. Like a lot of recent social media converts, Dr. Klotz was turned onto social media by his kids and grandkids. (He joked, Americans probably think French intellectual men sit around drinking wine with a bit of bread. My stereotype also includes cheese.)
He then shared insights as it related to his psychoanalysis practice. His practice is a practical one, not intellectual. The only way Dr. Klotz can connect with his patients is through speech and being present with them in the same room. However, with the advent of social media, there is no longer a need for being present. You can have an intellectual transfer through new ways, from people half a world away.
As well, we can now choose how we are contacted, and communicated to, through social media.  The example here was President Barack Obama and how his 3.4 million followers on Twitter choose to be contacted directly by him through Twitter’s 140 characters. What do people like about this idea of following President Obama on Twitter? They get a sense of communicating directly with him, the (arguably) most powerful man in the free world. When has that kind of access ever been available to the public?
There were two points Dr. Klotz wanted to highlight about this new world we live in today. The first point was communication. Communication now is more total than usual traditional communication. It was here when he talked about how the iPhone has changed life. It is easier to communicate now than it ever has been. When he said this, I was reminded of something I heard recently. In 1848, it took six months for a letter the President of the United States mailed to California to be delivered to its address.
The second point Dr. Klotz wanted to highlight was transparency. We now live in a moment of civilization where it is compulsory to be transparent to the world. Even though there is no obligation to do so, the pressure is there to oblige and make yourself visible to the world on social networks. We can go on Facebook, search for any public profile on Facebook, and form an opinion about them because we know their religious, political and cultural leanings. With increased transparency we can also communicate more effectively because we understand better what is behind any given communication. The transparency allows use to understand a person’s world better, and thus have a greater understanding of the why within what they communicate.
It was here that Dr. Klotz interjected why he’s interested in social media, due to his practice. It makes sense why a psychoanalyst would be interested, after he discussed transparency.
He then shifted into Facebook versus Twitter. Dr. Klotz acknowledged the practicality of Facebook in how you can share photos and remarks with people. However, he finds Facebook a “little heavy”.
According to him, Twitter is “genius” because of its specificity and ease in manipulation. He tells his friends, who say it’s complicated, that it is simple: followers, following, timeline. All one needs is practice with it.
Dr. Klotz talked about how it use to be hard to encounter colleagues around the world. (He’s lectured on four continents.) With Twitter, though, it can happen immediately. Referring to Twitter’s succinctness as a positive, he brought up how emails are not read anymore because they are too long. To him, if an email is beyond five to six lines, he won’t read it. Tweets get read because they are limited to 140 characters. His comments about email reminded me about the Wall Street Journal article, The End of the Email Era.
An offshoot of using Twitter is a bit of an enigma develops about the individual. We leave holes in what we say over Twitter, so an enigma develops. This is “very interesting” to his practice. (And I was reminded of the saying, “Always leave them wanting more”.)
With the prevalence of social media, like Facebook and Twitter, there has been shift in what is impossible with communication and transparency. Before, it seemed like science-fiction to pull a phone out of your pocket and then broadcast video to someone in another country. That’s reality now with smartphones. We have the capability to communicate to the world at any moment. What is now the new impossible with communication and transparency?
We speak with people around the world every day. We become friends with them, and yet we’ve never met them. Because of this, a special loneliness as developed. A specific type of isolation. Some people live in front of their computers, never interacting with another presence, because they are interacting with hundreds of people online.
A global dialog is happening, Dr. Klotz noted. For instance, we are at a conference and we tweet something out that we heard. Instantaneously, our followers respond to the data we sent out. The other aspect of this new global communication is it has an induced the world’s citizens to feel as “one”. There are much less obstacles between human beings because of social media. I thought of last summer when social media raised awareness about the conflict in Iran, and many around the world showed support to those being oppressed.
After Dr. Klotz shared, it was time for the Q&A portion with the panel. Below is a sampling of some of the questions. Because of Dr. Klotz’s lauding of Twitter, and Amy Mather being against Twitter, Hal France posed the obvious question.
Q: Why Facebook and not Twitter?
Amy’s response was simple. “I hate Twitter”. (And, I hate the New York Yankees.) She was quick to add that 140 characters is never enough with conversation. She’s been on social media for years, and prefers the fuller conversation you can have on Facebook. She wants to see people’s pics and know the inane with people like what their favorite cereal is. She sees Twitter as being me-focused, whereas Facebook is about conversations. Plus, you can also jump in and out of conversations with ease on Facebook.
Rahul Gupta placed himself in the Twitter camp. He didn’t use social media until he moved to Omaha. He started using Twitter two years ago, and that led him to using Facebook. He sees Facebook as friends from previous life, and Twitter as experiencing life in Omaha. Through Twitter, he was able to meet potential new clients, be a part of the local entrepreneurial community and meet many new friends. So much so that he had fifty people at his son’s first birthday.
I echo Rahul’s sentiment. I moved back to Omaha in 2004, after spending nearly ten years in the south. It was hard to reconnect with the people and culture the first few years, but Twitter helped me get back in the flow of life in Omaha. I’ve met a lot of new friends through it.
Joe Gerstandt is a veteran of both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook does add context, but it also brings chaos. Your Facebook profile can be a convergence of business partners and former flames, which is not necessarily the best mix. It’s one reason why he’s a big fan of Twitter. It is also forward leaning. You develop new relationships, and it leads somewhere where you meet people outside of the network.
Joe also brought up how people use Facebook and Twitter in different ways. This is true of all social media. There’s not just one standard way one converses in all social media platforms.
Q: Privacy is illusion on social media. How does that change your communication?
Dr. Klotz went back to why he likes Twitter. There isn’t privacy, because you put yourself and your content out there to be seen, but then you meet new people. It’s the exchange one makes in this day and age. We know some people simply by their avatars. When we meet people in person for the first time, after communicating online for awhile, it is different. We communicate differently in person than through social media.
Q: The history of social media is littered with networks that have died. What will happen with Twitter and Facebook? What’s the future of social media?
Hal put it dryly to the panel, after this question was posed from the audience, “And, can you predict the future”?
Amy listed off a number of social media sites that need to be put out of their misery, like Friendster, or sites that take up space, like Google Buzz which she deemed “a failure”. There does seem to be a group of people committed to MySpace, despite its decline. She did think both Facebook and Twitter would survive.
Rahul thought both were set up for survival. He noted Facebook’s multi-generational users and how there is a broader buy-in from people. Facebook has been strategic in getting people to join. People see it as a place to live/be. Twitter is more of a platform, it delivers information to people.
Joe sees an increase in niche social networks, like Ning. He does hope Facebook “goes away”. There will be more and more social media options as technology continues to be integrated with the networks.
Q: What’s the impact of social media communicating news to society?
Dr. Klotz noted it’s a symptom of not being in the same world anymore. The bigger issue is it induces a change within oneself. What does it mean to be 21st century, as opposed to 20th century? The internet has changed things.
Joe brought up how the tools could be influential, but still face to face communication is the most effective. Even then, we’re still not good at it as one can see when they watch C-SPAN.
By the way, some big news stories I found out about last year on Twitter? Plane crash in Hudson River, Michael Jackson’s death and Balloon boy are three that quickly come to mind.
Q: What’s the impact of social media communicating news to society?
Joe brought up how the tools could be influential, but still face to face communication is the most effective. Even then, we’re still not good at it as one can see when they watch C-SPAN.
Q: What is the personality of Facebook user vs a Twitter user? Is it simply extrovert vs introvert?
Amy agreed with the sentiment that Facebook draws extroverts, while Twitter draws introverts. Personality traits will lead to someone preferring one over the other.
In my opinion, I don’t think its simply introvert vs extrovert. I think another dynamic worth discussing is men vs women. For instance, I manage social media at work. Our Facebook page has over 1,000 fans. 64% of our fans are women, and almost 75% of the page’s interactions come from women. Amy’s enthusiasm about Facebook, and Rahul and Joe’s reticence about it, doesn’t surprise me after seeing my organization’s Facebook analytics.
Q: Can we twitter in person?
This led to the line of the night, in my opinion, when Rahul remarked how we are becoming more like cyborgs. We’re never without our smartphone anymore. We have access to so much at a moment’s notice. When does the body end in its physical form and technology start?
Rahul’s line drew a lot of laughs, but there is truth to it. This scene from The Matrix doesn’t seem far-fetched anymore. I was reminded how in 2008, my wife and I were driving to the movie theater to see Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. My wife asked me a question about John Williams, who scored all the Indiana Jones films. While driving, I called ChaCha and asked the question. Within a minute, ChaCha texted back a bio on John Williams with the answer.
Q: I’m overwhelmed. Social media, email, and I don’t know what Joe said…Ning? I just want to do my thing.
Amy stressed that when she disconnects, she makes sure she does just that. It’s easy to be overwhelmed and that’s why she doesn’t use every social media platform. She tries to limit her usage.
It was then that someone in the crowd mentioned the recent Omaha World-Herald article about people backing away from social media. Rahul retorted with, “Did you mention a newspaper”?
Joe asked the question that everyone using social media should ask. What are you trying to accomplish? What tools do you need? We have a tendency to be conformists. There are thousands of social media sites, many we have never heard of. The key is to know what you’re doing, and how you can accomplish it.
Unfortunately, at this point, time ran out on the event. A number of people still had questions. Hal remarked, he hoped the conversation would continue online.
I appreciated what Dr. Klotz had to say, and the perspectives Amy, Rahul and Joe brought to the discussion. Hal also did an excellent job of emceeing the event. I liked his approach. He is a learner, and subtly adds personality to the discussion. His self-deprecation about not knowing how some social media works drew laughs and connected him with many of us who resonate with that feeling.
KANEKO continues to bring in great speakers, from a variety of pertinent fields and experiences, that sharpen the mind.

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