There are many factors related to the issue of social media going mainstream but maybe we aren't looking in the right place for answers.
Any new social service is being populated by the same early adopters - it is the usual suspects friending each other in multiple locations across the web (I'm just as guilty as the next guy) - the echo chamber walls are being reinforced. Are the tech elite entrenching themselves ever deeper in a social media 'hole'? As Frederic says, the gap between the early adopter and the mainstream user appears to be growing.
Does this mean that the echo chamber is becoming irrelevant; the same people having the same conversations just in different places?
If this is the case how then can we avoid making the same mistakes and rehashing the same old stuff again and again? The important ideas come not just from individuals but from those individuals asking the right questions. Can the same few evolve their ideas faster than the technology they create so that the direction it takes is controlled rather than have us as users have our direction dictated to us by the technology? Perhaps, the ideas are already there but technology and society will have to catch up with them.
Perhaps we should be asking if social media should indeed go mainstream, does everyone need it? Will it, as I mentioned before, create a need where one doesn't currently exist and force everyone to jump on the bandwagon even though they had no reason to do so.
At what point does the user get to determine the way forward rather than dictate the success or failure of a service just by voting with their feet? Is the echo chamber necessarily the best place for these decisions or is the depth of opinion too limited?
Are the masses safe in the hands of the few or is it unrealistic to assume that the best decisons will be made by the elite?
Image by Hugh Macleod.