Everywhere I go these days it seems as if everybody is talking about this new phenomenon called social media. Social media is profoundly altering the way companies market their products and services and having a significant impact on how they conduct business. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. Even Larry King has added Twitter to his social media mix – or to put it another way, he “tweets.”
Traditionally, when we think of media we think of newspapers, magazines, radio and television. With the widespread use of the Internet we saw the advent of new media: Amateur journalists leading the way with blogs and podcasts. With the introduction of MySpace and the advent of Facebook media took another leap forward by becoming “social.” Thus, we are a society that is interconnected to one another as never before: Users engaged in conversations around the clock without ceasing. This non-stop, free flowing exchange of information is redefining how we relate to one other as humans and how we relate to the organizations we serve or that serve us. But not everyone enjoys the same quality of experience.
Millions of people make online sharing part of their everyday lives, whether engaging in conversations on Facebook, posting family photographs on Flickr or networking with other professionals on Linkedin. Thousands of new users are joining in the practice each day. Nevertheless, I am meeting people everyday that are still reluctant to actively participate in social media. It seems as if most of the resistance is a combination of ignorance and fear: Not understanding how resourceful social media can be and feeling apprehensive that it will somehow end up doing more harm than good. I’ve heard husbands gripe that their wives spend too much time “chatting” on Facebook and business owners complain that their employees are distracted by social networking on the job. On the other hand, I’ve had friends to share with me how their life was impacted by reconnecting with a long, lost relative. And small business owners have relayed to me how wonderfully resourceful social media tools have been in generating leads and boosting sales. I am fascinated by the impact social media is having on other peoples lives. From the novice to the hardcore social media junkie to the burned and burnt out former user, there are stories that I would like to hear, perspectives I would enjoy gaining.
How about you? What’s been your experience? Please tell us.