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Social Media – Changing the World

February 16, 2011

Social MediaLast week, the world witnessed an amazing revolution come to an end and its success has largely been credited to the power of Social Media. When Egypt’s ruler “stepped down” after three decades of tyranny after less than a month of protests, many people began asking themselves, how could that possibly happen so quickly. The debate has already begun as to what role exactly Social Media played in Egypt’s situation especially given the fact that when compared to the United States and Europe, Arab states have a very small percentage of users of Social Media. While one side is dismissing Social Media all together, the other “camp” if you will is giving credit single-handedly to Social Media for the success. I think it’s true that you can’t totally discard the importance that the Social Media platform played. Just as CNN changed the way people followed the news during the Gulf War, Facebook and Twitter will ultimately change how people communicate during important events.

One thing I think that cannot be denied is the level of personal influence that comes from communicating via these new technologies. This is a definitely a shift from the criticism of some of the “recent” technologies. With Voicemail, Email, and texting, many people claimed that these technologies took away the personal aspect of communication. Now with Social Media people claim that it’s a better means of obtaining information because you can get opinions, reviews, and commentary from people you “trust”.

In the past, society has been “fed” the news through traditional sources such as newspapers & television. While these methods are not slated to disappear, it is true that if you are connected via one of the Social Media outlets, there is a very high probability you could hear important news via this media first on your handheld device. So what does this mean in terms of business?

  • “Ideas spread more rapidly in densely connected social networks.” ~ Stowe Boyd 
  • People’s perception of events/products will have a stronger impact in decision making. 
  • With over 500+ million active users on Facebook with an average of 130+ Friends each, content shared with one person easily reached hundreds or potentially thousands more (anyone remember the shampoo commercial – you tell 2 friends and they’ll tell 2 friends and so on and so on and so on). 
  • Viral Marketing is not a new concept, but it is multiplied by the use of Social Media on the Internet faster than almost any other media. 
  • People view the content on Social Media as “transparent” and therefore tend to trust it a little more than a company just telling you what they want you to hear – people can easily counter what they believe is misinformation that is out there.

I recently read an interesting quote from a participant at a conference – they said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Social Media is kind of like vitamins – you’re not really sure why you should take them, but you just know that you should”.

To find out more information about how Social Media can help your business, visit our website at http://www.statusnotquo.com.

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