An undercurrent is a type of current which runs below the surface of air or water currents. The direction of an undercurrent is typically opposite that of surface currents, and the strength of the undercurrent varies, depending on the situation and the circumstances.
Meteorologists often consider undercurrents when making predictions, and the study of undercurrents is an important part of the field of oceanography as well, since undercurrents play a major role in the water cycle which mixes the world’s oceans.
In terms of meteorology, undercurrents can have a dramatic effect on the weather, pulling clouds and storm systems in unexpected directions. Many undercurrents are charted, so meteorologists can account for them when examining weather phenomena, while others may arise spontaneously in response to changing climatic conditions, potentially wreaking havoc. Undercurrents are part of the larger system of air circulation and patterns which creates global weather, and explains why storm systems move in the way that they do, and how the weather of various regions on Earth is created.
Swimmers have to be especially careful of undertows, undercurrents which run in the opposite direction of surface currents. An undertow can sometimes be much stronger than a surface current, and very unexpected. Some areas have well known undertows; along the coast of North America, for example, a powerful undercurrent runs parallel to the shoreline. This undertow sometimes switches directions, making it hard to recover people and cargo lost close to the shore.
Is There A Social Media Undercurrent?
The current developments and activities within the social media space are creating a “user generated undercurrent” that is becoming stronger and more powerful by the day. As businesses and individuals step “into the waters of social media” the lure of a new experience, new capabilities and proliferation of tools attracts them to go deeper into the waves of conversations. The deeper one goes the force of the “undercurrent” pulls them into the depths of activity which eventually turns into an undercurrent of force that threatens ones ability to control their time, direction and abilities. Caught up in trying to keep up and make sense of the pull they feel many are threatened and confused by power pulling them into the deeper waters.
The social media undercurrent is below the surface of the conversations. On the surface the possibilities and lure of the “cool waters” creates the attraction to “jump in”. The problem is that many do not know how to “swim” against the tides of an undercurrent. The natural reaction is to apply traditional thought to the pull of the undercurrent. The danger is that traditional thought does not work against the power of an undercurrent. Fighting an undercurrent can make you tired, confused and soon your in over your head fighting the panic and desire to get back to shore.
The social media undercurrent goes against the flow of traditional business methods. To jump in without comprehending the force, the dynamic and the methods increases the risk of drowning. Drowning is the fate of individuals and businesses who 1) discount the power of social media 2) try and apply traditional thinking to the methods 3) approach it alone rather than “swimming with the experienced swimmers” 4) fight the undercurrent with tricks and tactics 5) try and act as someone or something they are not.
When someone new jumps into the “waters of social media” the experienced swimmers try and warn them of the undercurrent but many take the attitude that they are strong and know how to swim. The problem is they have never been in this ocean before and it is unlike any previous “swimming experience”. Get it? If you don’t then just make sure a lifeguard is close by when you jump in.
What say you?