Digital Mavericks Using Social Media to Change Our Lives

They’re no longer considered mere movers and shakers anymore. The biggest names associated with social media, as profiled by Details magazine, are now known as “digital mavericks”. Not because Details got bored with a boilerplate category that pre-dates the advent of broadcast television. But because most any technological revolution these days involves a social component. And those virtual ideas, the magazine explains, are changing how people live their lives and connect with others – in the real world as much as in virtual space.

Reinventors of Retail

For starters, Twitter programmer Jack Dorsey, who started the e-commerce company, Square, which lets people process payments via a small cube-like device attached to their smartphones, has a few other ideas up his sleeve concerning how we’ll all be doing business one day.

While Dorsey maintains that cash isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, he thinks that associated transaction paper, like receipts, will. And he says digital wallets aren’t about to take over the world, either. Why? With battery life still a concern, nobody wants that critical transaction nullified by a power failure. Dorsey also believes that brick-and-mortar stores still have a few advantages over virtual marketplaces, and that payment systems that use pre-established accounts, like iTunes, will likely streamline other, future purchases.

Along those all-important lines of retail, here’s what a few of Dorsey’s colleagues believe:

  • Rachel Botsman of Collaborative Lab maintains that people will somehow use their reputation as currency, with many of us someday regarding our rep as we now do our digital footprint
  • Jared Schiffman of PERCH Interactive says that interactive touch-screen displays are just one method that traditional stores will use in order to compete with the likes of Amazon
  • Chris Morton, CEO of Lyst, hopes that people will get on board his platform’s concept of letting people follow tastemakers in the world of fashion

The many lives of Myspace

Believe it or not, somebody actually has high hopes for re-inventing Myspace, the troubled social platform purchased in 2005 for $580 million by News Corp. – and sold some six years later for roughly $35 million to a company called Specific Media.

Justin Timberlake, who also invested in the new Myspace, reportedly convinced Grammy-nominated musician Kenna to take a job with Myspace as Chief Vision Officer. According to Kenna, Myspace still has potential as a promotional site, especially for musicians and artists looking to promote their latest creations.

I couldn’t care less if people come to Myspace to find their friends. I want people to come to Myspace to find themselves.Kenna, Chief Vision Officer, Myspace

Art to go

Or, people might just need to find some really cool art instead – a process that, largely until now, has meant rubbing shoulders with the denizens of trendy-yet-slimy neighborhoods, or blazing a creative trail through the hors d’oeuvres-and-pretentious-display crowd.

Thanks to a 26-year-old Princeton grad, Carter Cleveland, art – whether that of contemporary iconoclasts or respected old masters – can be had without venturing among the over- or under-washed. Cleveland’s site, called Artsy, boasts more than 20,000 pieces of artwork. A special algorithm helps visitors find what they’re looking for. And, naturally, an app is in the works that will let users extend their search to some popular galleries. Also, gallery owners will have the option to share news with connected customers.

Once Cleveland figures out how to deliver fresh hors d’oeuvres, the sky could be Artsy’s limit.

Don’t start the revolution without us

What would any assemblage of revolutionaries be without those committed to capitalizing on change to solve various human dilemmas? Particularly those that sprout up between people and governments?

Jennifer Pahlka, a former tech-event specialist, started her own initiative, Code for America, in 2009. Emerging talents in tech and design are asked to sacrifice a year from their career plans in order to work with communities that seem particularly suited to embracing innovation.

One pet project involves a group from Boston that built a web-based app to locate fire hydrants gone missing among drifting or piled-up snow. Volunteers then dig out the buried hydrants – a process that apparently takes less time and expense than relying on city services to do the job.

Perhaps most telling about Pahlka’s project is the fact that, last year, 550 people applied for just 26 fellowships. As she aptly says,

Government is not the property of politicians.

Innovation is the new normal?

Maybe most important of all, though, is that Details seems to have come up with practically no end to the innovators it’s following in the tech/social revolution.

Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp want to introduce a new business model to Pinterest that will offer users unlimited chances to make new discoveries. Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, is angling to build a cloud-based way to help users rein in their many social media accounts. Gillian Casten of RateYourBurn looks to expand her review and information site for workout nuts. And Phil Ivey of thinks that people need more tips and insight about how to better play one of America’s favorite card games.

Some of the latest mavericks will fail, or sputter along the way, much as the hundreds of automobile companies attempting to follow in Henry Ford’s footsteps either consolidated, were bought out or simply withered on the assembly vine. For now, though, it’s full steam ahead.

After all, just like Ford’s followers, what digital maverick worth the magazine profile honestly believes their idea will fail?

Image via Kijsanayothin

Pierce Mattie

Pierce Mattie is a full-service marketing agency that interacts with consumers and key stakeholders at every stage of the journey. With a focus in beauty, health and wellness, we are immersed in the marketing landscape, able to powerfully communicate a brand’s point of difference to acquire and maintaining customers. The content team is obsessed with what's trending in the digital world, and how it intersects with consumer behavior. We are passionate about the changing landscape of the world, including how emergent technologies affect brand attachment, how diversity and inclusivity are critical to success, and where humans fit into the equation.

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