So…What?

I’ve noticed it, have you? The use of the word “So” to start off an online conversation – email, texting and the Facebook status update seem to the places of choice to say, “So…”.

As in, “So, I’m gonna put this out there.”

“So” has always been used in face-to-face conversations. “So, what should we do now?” or “So, how ’bout those Mets?” It’s a conversation shifter, a way to move things along when they’re slow-going or getting uncomfortable. But what about when the conversation hasn’t even started yet? And when it starts with “So,” it is still a one-way conversation until someone responds, which they’re likely to do especially if it is used before a question, as in

“So, what did everybody get up to last night?”

or, when used before an attention-seeking statement,

“So, there we were, looking into the jaws of a whale.”

This one would be greatly enhanced with a photo.

Those of us who write about social media and online communications love to tell people to think before they make a post or a tweet or send a text or an email. We’re not asking for in-depth vows of silence-like contemplation but a second or two consider-the-consequences stuff. “So, what if my mother saw this?” or maybe “So, what are the odds of this turning up to haunt me 20 years from now when I really want to run for the Senate?”

Perhaps we are starting to win this one. Because we’ve gotten the word “so” being inserted at the start. Using the word “so” to start off an online communication is a deep breath. It shows that you have given what comes next some thought (not of the rocket science variety, but you’ve taken pause). And you’ve gotten our attention.

Start Making Sense

The idea of curating the vast sea that is the Internet is not new. For at least a decade now we’ve been trying to make sense of it. Blogging was a good start for many of us — but the millions of blogs that we created in the process only contributed to the problem: too much good information and not enough good ways to find it.

In late 2011 I came across a service called ScoopIt and started curating the topic “What People Are Talking About Online”. Two years later, ScoopIt is making a play to be the leading online curation tool with its new “humanrithm” technology, created in part by sourcing its regular users like KazzaDrask Media for feedback on how its curating process could be improved.

With billions of us logging onto the Internet everyday, something has to be done to help streamline the information overload that will soon lead to parts of the Internet spontaneously combusting under its own weight. It is inevitable that cute puppies, cranky cats, Candy Crushes and twerking interns will bring down our online society unless a new wave of curation emerges to save us from ourselves. ScoopIt is a great start. It can be used by professional communications teams and individuals who just want to create a sensible platform for their personal interests — and all in between — to start making sense of the Internet.

In the (near) future perhaps what we will log onto in the morning will not be a Google homepage or an Internet browser, but a list of topics that are of interest to us — carefully curated by trusted human sources who use a smooth platform like ScoopIt that creates sharp-looking sites without ads, without distractions. Try it!