In an industry where many people are highly reliant on touch-interface gadgets, where virtually all kinds of communication happen in cyberspace, and where most trends come and go faster than the waning of the moon, it seems quite pointless to put some value on the hype known today as Social Media.
But is it really just a “hype” or is it changing the face of society as we know it?
Let us take a closer look.
What Is Social Media?
Wikipedia’s definition of the term is “an umbrella term concerning the different activities that involve technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, images, videos, and audio”.
In non-technical language though, it refers to the gazillions of conversations that people are having in cyberspace.
Sounds simple enough, right? However, even if social media started as “online conversations”, it has become so much more over the past few years. In fact, its growth and influence on society is really impressive.
Take for instance the fact that more than a quarter of the total time spent on the Internet is on social networking sites.
- Facebook has managed to amass more than 1000 million users, with 40% of these logging in everyday.
- Twitter has collected up to 500 million registered users, and still counting.
- Pinterest managed to collect 10 million US visitors for just a single month, a feat that no other platform has accomplished.
These figures themselves are impressive enough, added to the fact that we actually see how social media is slowly embedding itself into our cultural psyche.
For example, gone are the days when we say “Call me!” or “Email me the pictures!”
Instead, we say “I’ll add you on Facebook”, “I’ll follow you on Twitter”, or “Tag me!” Gone were those days when “follow” only meant walking behind someone or when “profile” only referred to a certain angle of the face.
These days, everything is being revolutionised and a major part of this is the evolution of the social media and of the Internet as a whole.
Why Is This Relevant to You?
Simply put, because you are part of the collective Internet community.
Over the years, you may have noticed that blogging has become, well, a very prominent platform for online marketing. More and more people are creating their own blogs, either for personal or professional reasons. Now, although their niches vary greatly, there is one common aspect in blogging―promotion.
You are promoting yourself, your business, your company, your friend, and a charitable cause (among others). It all boils down to online marketing, and blogging is proving to be a major contender.
This is where social media comes in. Writing posts for your blog is not enough by itself. No matter how compelling, interesting, or informative your content is, your efforts will only go to waste without your target readers’ knowledge about it.
You need to learn to balance between content writing and marketing for you to become a successful blogger. That means logging on to Facebook occasionally for promotion.
It’s Not Just About Facebook
There is no doubt that Facebook is, presently, the king of social media. It has the most number of users and it’s been around far longer than other platforms (although seniority has very little to do with it).
Despite its dominance, there are still other mediums out there with a growing audience and with, probably, a more effective means to promote. One example is Twitter. Each day, over 175 million tweets are sent and a million Twitter accounts are made. That’s pretty impressive, right?
Another great example is Google+. The +1 button is used about 5 billion times each day, with over 625,000 accounts made in that time frame.
Of course, these are just the cherries on top of a great sundae. Digg, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Instagram are also rapidly collecting their own members. Pretty soon, these social networks will rise to the top of the social media ladder, in close competition with Facebook and YouTube.
The Power of Word of Mouth
What makes us human is our ability to communicate―this may sound cheesy but it’s still true. Our capacity to speak, write, and express ourselves separates us from the rest of the animal species.
This is the reason why social media is so useful to us, not just as bloggers but as citizens of the world. Through it, our voices reach far-off continents, remote areas, and halfway-across-the-world communities, allowing us to interact with people other than our own peers.
This essentially means that you can participate in more “worldly” issues rather than just focus on the current issues of your small town or city. You can let your voice be heard, or hear other voices through different social networking sites.
More importantly, you can learn, engage, and establish relationships with other internet surfers. It’s a free, easy, and fast way to socialise!
The Future of Interaction
There is a lot of negative perception surrounding “social media”. Let us try to analyse those arguments…
Social media belittles the power of human interaction.
On the contrary, it celebrates it! The very premise of social media is to allow people from distant locations to communicate easily. Now, there is no such thing as “you’re too far away” because there’s Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and Instagram to connect you with other people.
Social media neutralises the power of blogging.
Some would say “why blog when I can just log in to my Twitter account?” Well, sure you can. But the purpose of blogging lies in its loyalty to “writing“. It is not just about posting interesting images or broadcasting your relationship status, but also about analysing and creating new ideas. It is about talking to an audience through published online posts, about voicing your thoughts on a subject, and about making it count.
In other words…
The power of social media shows no signs of stopping. The challenge here is to embrace this kind of technology, not just for a better blogging experience, but also for a more compelling Internet interaction.
About the Author: Jonny Lis is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Smart Traffic Company based in UK. He oversees SEO strategies for Smart Traffic’s 300+ campaigns.
Image by: b_d_solis
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