Time and again I come up against Social Media skeptics and find myself having a hard time convincing them of the value of something that is difficult to quantify to people who have no interest in embracing what they see as a 21st century phenomenon. These are often the same people who were slow to get to grips with the internet, or using mobile phones, but are now probably inveterate fans hooked on search engines and texting!
‘Why would I want to let someone know what I am eating for breakfast?’, or ‘Haven’t people got anything better to do’ are sentences often uttered from these skeptics. As mentioned in a previous post, Social Media is not new, it is just another method of facilitating conversations, but now we can do it in real-time and on a global basis.
In his book Histories of Social Media, author Jonathan Salem Baskin explains that although the technology behind Facebook and Twitter might be innovative, history provides antecedents for every behavioural quality of this new media; from crowd sourcing by medieval villagers, engagement by 19th century industrial unions who used it to plan activism, to conversation by the Romans who ran their government with it. His detailed analysis of crowds is particularly relevant in the light of the riots that have taken place recently in the UK.
People like to talk about what they find interesting, and Social Media is a public way of sharing this with friends, who then share it with others. It can add value to someone’s life, or can help someone source information to enable them to fix a problem. It can build and foster relationships, both personally and professionally.
Companies around the world devote time and resources to using Social Media, both in the marketplace and for communication purposes, and there are many Social Media success stories where a company or brand has used it to increase sales. There can be no doubt that Social Media will proliferate in the corporate sector and will transform the way we live and do business in the future.
So to all those Social Media skeptics out there, dip your toe in gently and find out just how it can open up a whole new world of opportunities. It is a free tool, and you can decide how much, or how little, you engage with it. Social Media isn’t new behaviour and, for some of us, communicating via Social Media has become an integral part of our lives, and no – we are not ‘sad’ because of it!
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