19 March 2010

Social Media Means of Life

People describe new media as modern revolution. Is it true?

Social networking is the biggest shift since industrial revolution, claim new media experts. In only four years it took over developed countries beating up traditional media such as TV, radio and newspapers. It is now number one online activity leaving behind porn and web surfing. 

It is gradually overtaking the way we shop, socialize, work and do business, learn and fall in love. Statistics show that 1 in 8 married couples in America today met via social media. Though it might not sound new to us, as there were internet chat rooms long before social media existed and people tended to meet with someone they have never seen any way, social platforms offer different things that online chats don't have.
Social media are the place where we tend to keep our family and holiday photos, pictures from parties or from a day out spent with friends in a park. They store our date of birth, interests, e-mail addresses and things we like or dislike. They hold lots of information about us that might be of an interest to someone who 'fancies' us, or to someone like marketing people and other businesses. These platforms connect people who create so called tribes, which are of a great value to advertisers and PR professionals. Online tribes allow their messages to be spread around, from friend to a friend, passed on to other users. Social media are great 'word of mouth'. Therefore, these networking sites, though often seem to not make money out of their services, they might be (if not now then in the future) worth millions of dollars simply because of the information they store about their users/us.

Social media are often our first source of information and news. 
“I love the social media revolution. I wouldn't know many of the things that I do without it. I certainly can not depend on the lame stream news media to keep me informed”, said YouTube user, Wendi Carter. 
Now, social networking platforms such as facebook or twitter start taking ‘shapes’ of world’s biggest countries by uniting billions of users. In fact, if facebook was a real country it would be the 4th largest in the world standing behind China, India and USA. Only in 2009 there were 225 million global facebook users and these numbers are growing.

There is, however a gap in social media spread over the globe. Internet is not accessible everywhere in the world equally and certain nationalities are more suspicious of social media because of media information demand or culture careful nature. It can be seen especially among countries in
Middle East and in China where certain international social platforms are censored.

What worries me personally is the fact that social media are quickly overpowering many aspects of human life. They tend to speed things up (such as for example flow of information) and this also puts pressure on people who are expected to act/react/work quicker. In our already racing world many people find it difficult to find their place and themselves. I often feel overwhelmed by demands my environment puts on me.

The good thing about social media is that it is hard to hide something from us - the public because of them; and that control of the information and media could be very difficult, in instance, for governments to maintain. Social networking allow also the two way communication, which means we can complain, advise one to another and be heard if we think something is not quite ok with what governments or corporations are doing. And the real-time information flow/share makes it almost impossible to stop the news from getting out into the world. Social media are real blast for online campaigning and for activists to organize.


Magik New Media said...

Social Network Marketing is about starting a dialogue with your customers, rather than shouting orders. A nice conversation with your customers may result in them thinking positively about your brand and they ll more than likely share the love with their friends. By having a discussion with your potential customers you may even discover flaws in your offering.

Ralu said...

Lack of privacy is what worries me when it comes to social media. There are some things one should keep to themselves.
I read a couple of weeks ago about a woman twittering while giving birth. Come on! There should be some limits...
As a consumer social media does provide me the chance to complain as you wrote. For a company social media is a great opportunity to hear from customers. The result - the two-way communication you mentioned! I feel the need to underline that online media indeed allows bidirectional flow of information whereas in the offline world the concept is more theoretical, I believe.

Neta said...

Thank you for commenting. I'm always happy to read what other people think on issues I'm touching here :)
I agree with both of you. I think social media gives an opportunity for conversation (and not only be talked at) and to listen what's happening around and then react (for he consumers and the brands). But I also think that one should be careful about things he/she posts, tweets, puts on facebook. It can cause many troubles for an individual.What's on the net is very difficult to erase.

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