Recap: The Social Organism w/ Doug Bingel

By: Doug Bingel

A few weeks ago I wondered wandered into a bookstore at the local mall, it was right in between Spencer’s and the Pet Store which both usually just make me sad, so I thought it would be my best bet. I aimlessly roamed the aisles and picked up a few books to possibly buy. Right before I was about to head to the cashier, I stumbled across this book that perked my interest and made me immediately put down the two other books I was thinking of purchasing, and I had made my decision. Considering I am studying Social Media Marketing — and hopefully plan on starting my business one day — I decided to purchase it with the understanding that these are the kind of books I should be reading. Forget textbooks, I, as well as other Social Media Marketing students, should be reading texts like these: ones that apply the idea behind Social Media to every aspect of your life and business.
So, I plan on reading a chapter a week and giving you readers the chance to get a summary or the highlights of key points the authors, Oliver Luckett & Michael J. Casey make.

The authors begin their work with describing how this new mass communication system “holds a commanding grip on 21st-century society”. Social Media, although still fairly new has forever changed the way individuals use and “. .share information, organize communities and businesses, make political decisions, forge bonds, and maintain relationships with each other. When reading this, a lightbulb in my head went off as I thought about all the “friends” I have on Social Media.
My “best friends” on snap chat are some people I haven’t seen in person in months, but with the power of social media, our staying in touch is made exceptionally easier.
The authors go on to mention that “What seem like nuggets of information can amass immense power.” Social Media truly does have such an enormous power and hold over society and with the magic of virility, something so minor can quickly become something so massive. Also brought up are the facts that social media is making human culture subject to faster evolution, innovating organizations and policies, as well as the constant “selling” of an individual’s self.
To conclude the preface, the authors give readers their hypothesis behind the social media force stating that “Social Media functions on every level like a living organism” setting the stage for the rest of the book.
The intro of this book details the author’s epiphany in the desert, where he finally made the connection with his biology roots and determined that social media is in itself a life form, a living organism. Luckett goes on to introduce the Seven Rules of Life and applies them to Social Media. Oliver Luckett mentions that “Our communication network had evolved into a living, “breathing,” creature…We are its cells and out interconnected, timeless Internet networks are the substance for this new life form.” Reading this put the idea of social media users in a different perspective. I, along with many other Social Media obsessed users never thought to compare ourselves to cells of living organisms. Thinking about it more in depth, it makes a lot of sense. We are the driving force behind Social Media and ultimately are responsible for all the interactions, shares, viral views, and evolution. Speaking of virility, the authors begin to make the connection between a virus taking control of a cell to exploit the cell’s internal machinery and the act of a specific post going viral on Social Media. A virus spreads itself through a process of auto replication; a post that goes viral auto-replicates itself into the lives and emotions of the many cells (social media users).

Luckett goes on to apply the Seven Rules of Life to social media.
In the Social organism, all cells are both independent as well as a part of a wider whole. Nourishment for the Social organism is compared to the content constantly uploaded to Social Media, “healthy” nourishment for the Social Organism, on the other hand, refers to content that makes a splash or an impact on the media community and world. The comparison of an open petri dish in a biology lab to the uncensored world of social media is made and brings to light that social media is now the “main driver of cultural evolution.” Having social media lines of communication and emotional exchange open at all times ensures a new way of thinking, behaving, and evolving.
The authors state “successful marketing strategies over this new communication architecture require us to determine how to connect emotionally with people who function as its messengers.” Creating and solidifying an emotionally connection and response with a business’s consumers and users are essential is gaining and maintain success in your industry. The introduction comes to and ends with the notion that “we’re at once obsessed and horrified by this new phenomenon.”

I find this so true because like many other Millennials, I spend hours on end scrolling and exploring my phone and social media apps. Yes, I am obsessed, but as my studies continued my eyes and mind opened to the depths of social media and the intricacies users have yet to uncover.


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