What is Social Media? (Chapter 1)

Posted on June 18, 2011

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While searching for a job this winter, my friend in marketing told me that being a social media guru would be a great resume booster. I’ve been an avid Facebook junkie for a few years, but I finally took the plunge and went “all in.” I joined LinkedIn, started Tweeting and created my own blog (notexactlysusiehomemaker.blogspot.com). I’d thought about doing all these things for a long time, but used busyness as an excuse to avoid technology. I added “avid social media user” to my resume and thought I was plugged in. And then I started reading “The Social Media Bible” and realized that I know nothing.

Safko was kind enough to point this out in his first chapter. If I think I know what social media is, or think I can define it in less than a few-hundred pages, I am sadly mistaken. Should we use social media for marketing and communication? A resounding yes, according to Safko.  Although this may be obvious to many, social media changed conventional marketing from a system of pontification to one of two-way
communication.

Social media, as a whole, promotes relationships with customers and other businesses.  Many of these relationships did not exist five years ago.  Relationships were one-sided.  The “Company” told you, the customer, what they wanted you to know about their product and you decided if you wanted to buy it.  Today, the “customer” can tell the “company” what they like, don’t like, want and need in a product.  If people have a complaint, they can reach thousands of other potential customers through their social networks.  Companies are forced to listen to their customers and attempt to make them happy.

I’m glad that I now have a voice.  Although I’m not nearly as creative as the guy who made a music video about United Airlines and posted it on YouTube, it is nice to know that an individual can make a point and a difference.  Greg Jarboe of Search Engine Watch wrote about a guy in New York City that was ticketed for not riding his bike in the bike lane.  In an effort to get his point across, the bicyclist crashed his bike into numerous hazards blocking bike lanes and posted a video of it all on YouTube.  According to Jarboe, “Don’t get mad, get YouTube.”  (article found at htttp://searchenginewatch.com/article/2078601/Authenticity-in-Social-Media-Dont-Get-Mad-Get-YouTube)

This is the world we live in.  For better or worse, social media is here to stay.  As Safko explained, the vehicles may change but social media is not going anywhere.  It is time to adapt and embrace it or we will be left behind.

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