The what? Yes, you read that correctly. Jane Austen was more than just a supremely divine author (I’m a diehard fan, can you tell?), she was also the source of some very accurate observations that can be applied to the new social media realm.
Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. ~ Emma
Many people consider things like Twitter and Facebook to be “silly” wastes of time. However, put a knowledgeable person behind a keyboard on one of these forums and watch what happens. You’ll notice that a steady stream of comments about sandwiches and celebrities will quickly transform into an invaluable information feed.
Everybody likes to go their own way–to choose their own time and manner of devotion. ~ Mansfield Park
Check that out – the brilliant Austen, in all her glory, predicted the demise of “push marketing” before anyone else! No one wants to be told what to do and when to do it, and this is directly connected to our current obsession with social forums. People would much rather turn to review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor than take their cues from more traditional marketing efforts (i.e. print advertisements). That’s not to say that those aren’t important. It’s just that now most people want to hear from other folks about their real-life experiences, and then make decisions based on the candid opinions and feelings that they share. Jane was on to something big.
I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library. ~ Pride and Prejudice
Books, books, books. Three of my favorite things.
I think that if Austen were around today, she would be thrilled by the amount of literature she’d have access to. She’d probably own a Kindle (I don’t think she would even care about the increased royalties paid to e-book authors), and I’d imagine she would be devoted to her Google Reader. That has me thinking…gosh, I probably could have written a whole post on this idea alone: “Jane Austen, Proto-Blogger.”
Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies. ~ Jane Austen
Now, I don’t think anyone will argue with me over this one. Voyeurism is all the rage. Twitter and Facebook are a couple of ways to get your fix, but let’s look at FourSquare specifically. Now you can follow a friend everywhere they go – every day, in real-time. It’s really astounding how quickly the technology for these new “spy” tools is being created. And I’m not going to lie, I love it.
My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company. ~ Jane Austen
We often refer to social media as the great “conversation.” I may not share her exquisite talent with a pen, but Austen and I do have this in common: we love to talk with people. That’s why I always seek out experienced individuals with wisdom to share, stories to tell and jokes to crack. You never know what one discussion will lead to, and these days you can be having multiple chats with various folks all over the world, and all at once. It’s truly remarkable how far communication has come. Jane Austen might be overwhelmed by the amount of noise at first, but once she created a few lists on Twitter, joined a group on LinkedIn and filtered out all the nonsense, she’d be getting more than her fill of good company.
So maybe it was the cup of tea I was drinking, or just my loving devotion to the author, but I felt like I needed to share my thoughts on Austen and social media. If you know me, then you probably saw this post coming.