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Can mandatory social media service save America?
October 25, 2011 10:34 PM   Subscribe

Can mandatory social media service save America? Edward Boches is Chief Innovation Officer (formerly Chief Creative Officer and Chief Social Media Officer) at Mullen, a full service modern advertising agency.

Here’s my idea for saving America in case the Occupy Movement doesn’t work. It’s an idea that could help us increase empathy. It takes full advantage of social media’s true potential. It’s a program that steals from the military and juries — practices that do work — when it comes to creating interdependency.Mandatory social media service
  • We require every 18-year-old in America to participate in mandatory social media service as part of a daily or weekly routine for one year.
  • We assign our young adults to a racially diverse online social group comprised of 12 people from different regions, backgrounds, income brackets. (Google+ is a potential platform.)
  • We present each group with a social challenge -– obesity, jobs, poverty, high cost of education, even the problem of young men getting their sex education from watching online porn — and we ask them to solve the problem.
  • We give them benchmarks, goals, and require an outcome in the form of an idea, a program, a new policy or maybe just a video.
  • Finally we aggregate all of the solutions on one public website where the press, our legislatures, businesses and educators can access, rate and maybe even implement the ideas.
posted by KokuRyu (38 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can we just teach them not to leave rude comments on YouTube?
posted by demiurge at 10:38 PM on October 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Obviously the reason FaceBook hasn't solved all the world's problems so far is because the percentage of 18-year-old Americans with accounts isn't high enough.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:46 PM on October 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


The simple answer to that question would be no.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:47 PM on October 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Will kids flee to Canada to resist the Facebook draft?
posted by chavenet at 10:50 PM on October 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


even the problem of young men getting their sex education from watching online porn

I don't think this can work for random groupings of 18 year olds. You'd likely to come across people whose underlying ethics were too different for any meaningful conversation to emerge. What happens when an 18 year old Objectivist is inserted into the mix. They'd deny the above was a problem, and that they'd be glad that such lesser men would be drawn to such, letting the ubermensch rule.

You'd have to get everyone to agree the topic was a problem, which for almost all of the above would be an issue. You'd have to get them somewhat in the same frame of reference, and you'd have to get them to discuss things reasonably without too much moderation or it couldn't scale. We require 6 moderations for the thousands of people who post here. Splinter the topics even further, and how many cortex's and jessamyn's and restless_nomad's would we need to cover the entire young adult population of America? What happens when they flame out? And who the hell would want that job? It'd be like moderating the World of Warcraft forums combined with all the cachet of working for the DMV.
posted by zabuni at 10:55 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm of the view that the fewer Social Media Gurus we have the better off we all would be. This ill concieved and under thought idea really show that they would be in the first class of the Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B.

how about jkids doing something in the real world, say some voluntary work?
posted by quarsan at 11:05 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, another advertising executive who thinks vaguely defined cultural factionalism is more urgent to fix than the material social inequities that cause factions to exist in the first place — or, that is, another dimwit who thinks we can wish politics out of existence if we just believe in togetherness hard enough, Tinkerbell-style. But really it's not such a surprise that this kind of bunkum tends to come from people whose day job, too, is to make ideology... maybe the ad industry is the social media draft?
posted by RogerB at 11:07 PM on October 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


Things that will save America: dealing with the wealth gap with a stronger middle class, fixing the broken student loan system so we don't have an entire fucking generation burdened by unmanageable debt, making an economic system that doesn't cannibalize itself and its jobs, putting in real protection against a sell-out Congress that recklessly deregulates, and ridding the country of the just-world fallacy.

Things that will do nearly nothing to save America: social media brainstorming.
posted by spiderskull at 11:16 PM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Mandatory social media sounds very Orwellian to me.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:17 PM on October 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Juries "work" because they are selected for, whatever it is lawyers look for in jury members. People who don't fit are stripped out.

The military is self-selected now, and there were lots of problems when there was a draft.

Anyway, this guy's idea is ridiculous. If you had a 'real' national service where people had to, I don't know, build roads and infrastructure or whatever it might work but sitting around facebooking? I kinda doubt it.

For one thing, FB isn't really a good platform for collaborating. You need something like a wiki or a real collaboration platform.
posted by delmoi at 11:20 PM on October 25, 2011


Will kids flee to Canada to resist the Facebook draft?

Per capita, Facebook is more popular up here than down there.




But, yeah, probably.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:21 PM on October 25, 2011


Yeah, social networking can totally be used for brainstorming and solving the world's problems.

But who the F wants to do that when you can spend time hooking up?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:43 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Imagine the job for the moderators involved (if any)
posted by infini at 11:45 PM on October 25, 2011


Mandatory social media sounds very Orwellian to me.

But it was all right, everything was all right, the profile was finished. He had won the clicktory over himself. He loved Big Zucker.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:46 PM on October 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I agree this idea sucks, but juries only need selection because (a) 12 people ain't statistically significant for jack shit, and (b) they consider criminal matters where you need a strong bias towards innocence. You can arrive at reasonable results for ordinary legislative style questions using randomly selected people so long as you have an awful lot of them and they each actually participate in, or at least listen to, a deliberative process.

If you want an Orwellian reading of facebook, just imagine a mandatory friend log, so that if your seen as socially disruptive, authorities can make sure nobody aids you.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:53 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe they can get the 12 all together in one room and have them post messages to each others facebooks instead of talking? I feel sure that will solve all of America's problems.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:59 PM on October 25, 2011


I really want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and not conclude that this is one of the most idiotic ideas I've ever heard, but really? This is supposed to somehow "save America?"

America has no shortage of ideas nor means to make those ideas known. What we need are better, more effective ways to discuss those ideas and for the democratic process to better reflect an advanced popular discourse. What we very much don't need are mandatory social media naval-gazing sessions.
posted by zachlipton at 12:05 AM on October 26, 2011


I am SO SORRY I lost this domain name.
posted by arse_hat at 12:05 AM on October 26, 2011


No.

Social change shouldn't come from advertising and marketing executives any more than it already has.

Seen one way, these asshats are the problem, not the solution: a maximal application of the tools of manipulation, the fruits of years of psychology as well as market research, to the public to maximize turnover in the consumer sector left America with a society that always believes it needs more. Yeah, yeah, bankers are evil. But you can't have an evil-banker-driven credit bubble without credit demand. Once these tools were turned from selling televisions to selling ideas, democracy itself was co-opted, with popular support driven by lies.

You want social change from heavy-handed mandatory measures? Regulate marketing as the weapon against free thought that it is. Teach all children from the age of eight, not eighteen, to recognize the difference between someone telling you something and someone selling you something, to always consider the source, and to consider that most of those sources are working an angle.
posted by Vetinari at 12:15 AM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Social change shouldn't come from advertising and marketing executives any more than it already has.

Awesome.

I think you pretty much covered everything that needed to be said. Can we just end the site now?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:10 AM on October 26, 2011


Mandatory social media sounds very Orwellian to me.

Depressing but unsurprising it took 9 comments for someone to point this out.

I know, I know, it's only left-wing authoritarianism, the kinda-okay kind.
posted by codswallop at 1:42 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone with the word 'creative' in their job title should be automatically debarred from ever suggesting any ideas about anything at any time in any circumstances. You could fit all the good sense in this bloke's scheme into a fly's underpants without taking the fly out first.
posted by joannemullen at 2:33 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


i've got a better idea - why don't we require the people who run things to do their deliberations on publicly available social media?

yeah, i know, it's out there and it won't happen - but the real truth about the mandatory 18 year old councils is that they would happen and no one would listen to them - the purpose would be to give the participants the illusion of meaningful participation without any real effectiveness or power - that they "had a say" when they actually would have no say at all

it's a slick sales job worthy of an ad exec
posted by pyramid termite at 2:35 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


No.
posted by Simple Answer to a Simple Question at 2:53 AM on October 26, 2011


why don't we require the people who run things to do their deliberations on publicly available social media

turn up the heat on the post, boil off the ad-exec smarm, and here is where you get. you might be on to something here.

Marketing loves Facebook et al. because it gives them something they can't buy - trust through networks. And for the most part, the intersection of politics and social media is yet more marketing by political hacks. More political hacks and political marketing we don't need, it's essentially killed our civil discourse already. But a mandate to use these technologies to increase transparency as opposed to distributing bullshit, that might be worth discussion.
posted by Vetinari at 3:00 AM on October 26, 2011


OK, this guy is one of those "Social Media Gurus" who have turned LinkedIn from a moderately interesting tool to keep in touch with your business contacts and follow news related to your profession into a repository of spam for every Get Rich Quick scam in the books?

Because, right, those people certainly are going to save the world.
posted by Skeptic at 3:02 AM on October 26, 2011


Doubleplusgood!
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:01 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is nothing that isn't ridiculous about this idea, but this may be the most idiotic part of it:

Finally we aggregate all of the solutions on one public website where the press, our legislatures, businesses and educators can access, rate and maybe even implement the ideas.

If any one of "the press, our legislatures, businesses or educators" gave a rat's ass about what groups of ordinary, non-rich, non-power-wielding adults (let alone 18-year-olds) thought about "obesity, jobs, poverty, high cost of education, even the problem of young men getting their sex education from watching online porn," we wouldn't need this proposal in the first place.

Not only that, but Zuccotti Park would still be a wide-open, attractive lunch spot for nearby office workers.
posted by PlusDistance at 4:15 AM on October 26, 2011


So get a bunch of young people from differing backgrounds, give them a problem to think about, give them parameters and goals and require a certain outcome from them, and then have an apparatus in place to give their outcome lip service but ultimately ignore it.

This sounds a lot like many courses in an undergrad liberal arts education.

Maybe instead of all this shit we could just pay to send people to college? That eliminates at least one of the problems he names. Plus colleges already have desks and, you know, instructors and everything.
posted by penduluum at 4:16 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did Seth Godin go and change his name again?
posted by dbiedny at 4:44 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


An advertising draft. He's a fucking genius. It is so perfectly postmodern.
posted by spitbull at 5:07 AM on October 26, 2011


These crazy kids with their Facebook, social media and rock and roll!!!
posted by stormpooper at 6:32 AM on October 26, 2011


Vetinari, I like the way you think. You should run the country. Or maybe just start off with a small city-state somewhere ....
posted by benito.strauss at 6:55 AM on October 26, 2011


Oh cool, so Edward Boches is going to fund a program to provide Internet access and some kind of device to every 18-year-old in the U.S. that currently doesn't have the ability to participate in "social media" because they live remotely, under the poverty line, or in, say, an off-grid community and/or were home-schooled and are therefore hopefully ignorant of the "social media" plague?

Yeah, I didn't think so. I guess that "solving the poverty issue" is going to be his Catch-22.

It's funny; "idea people" are usually known for ideas that are NOT executable in a realistic fashion, especially on a budget and with a tight timeline... makes me wonder how the word "executive" got so mangled in the advertising industry.

Smart guy, though; here we all are, bitching about him and his stupid idea when most of us didn't know who he was 24 hours ago. Bravo, sir, you've raised your own brand awareness! Can you please post a tip jar online somewhere so I can drop a few bitcoins in it??? /sarcasm
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:12 AM on October 26, 2011


If you want an Orwellian reading of facebook, just imagine a mandatory friend log ...

... stamping on a human face—forever?
posted by Honorable John at 7:43 AM on October 26, 2011


Mencken said that "There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong." And this isn't even plausible. Or very neat.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:56 AM on October 26, 2011


This is comically stupid and I'm horrified that anyone is paying attention. Eugene Volokh bothered to post a brief critique on compelled speech grounds. The thing is simultaneously so farcical and so repugnant as to be almost perfect.

Is it satire?

To roll out the coercive apparatus of the state -- mandatory universal youth service with a propaganda goal -- in a cause so picayune seems absurd.
posted by grobstein at 1:12 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by Simple Answer to a Simple Question at 2:53 AM on October 26 [+] [!]


Eponhys-- no, it's just too easy.
posted by chavenet at 1:17 PM on October 28, 2011


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