The relationship between belief and knowledge is subtle. Believers in a claim typically say that they know that claim. For instance, those who believe that social media is disruptive and will grow to replace past communication methods believe that it is a new paradigm that displaces old methods.
The relationship between belief and knowledge is that a belief is knowledge if the belief is true, and if the believer has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true. A false belief is not considered to be knowledge, even if it is sincere.
Social Media Reveals Our Beliefs
Social media is a process of revealing an individuals or organizations beliefs. People and organizations share stories, positions, information, knowledge and perspectives. This sharing attracts others of common beliefs thus creating an affinity of “believers”. The power of social media is in its capability to reach one to one to millions thus the gathering of a crowd around common beliefs. The process of “gathering a crowd” at the clikc of a mouse, through the process of tweeting and retweeting, through the numerous tools of content distribution is a process whose dynamics are revealing new knowledge never before defined, understood or considered possible. What becomes possible becomes the new knowledge of the day and the new knowledge creates new believers.
What most people don’t realize is that the rate of discovery reveals an expotential rate of new knowledge growth and unless your active in the discovery you do not have any basis for believing the potential implications or power of what is being discovered. Thus there is a great divide between those that believe and participate in social media’s potential and those who don’t even know what it is, what it can do and how to use it effectively and appropriately.
Even amongst existing users of social media there are different beliefs in methods, in knowledge and perspectives about anything, everything and anyone. Whether it be political positions, views on the economy, philsophy, religion or even how to use social media for different purposes there are a variety of beliefs reflecting different levels of knowledge in what is and what isn’t true.
Who You Follow Reveals Your Beliefs
People tends to follow and connect with others based on common beliefs and the desire to learn more from those they follow or admire. Some may follow others out of curiosity or simply to create larger numers of followers and those whom they follow. The very process of following and or connecting reveals a belief in some theory which we believe to be true. Remember a false belief is not considered to be knowledge, even if it is sincere.
So how does one sort out what and who is worthy of belief? If what or who you believe has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true then chances are we will learn something new which will bring our knowledge and belief to a new level of wisdom. If there is no knowledge or wisdom gained or given then most likely we may be following a false belief. The problem is that there is so much new knowledge to gain that we may find it too easy to believe or follow anyone claiming to know anything. Get it?
At the recent SXSW conference Charlene Le said “I believe that social networks will be like air. The technologies are not yet there but are inevitable. Open networks will be the norm so consider how you are going to open your business”. To this I would add consider first what and whom you believe.
What say you?