Sunday, October 4, 2009

Social Media Manifesto

A spectre is changing communication as we know it. All the powers of old media have migrated to the social media because Generation X, Generation Y and Baby Boomers continue to push forward with social media innovations and ardor.

Is there still opposition to the social media revolution or is it accepted that the new communication channel will continue to evolve into the heavily favored method of human interaction? How is social media being used and how will it be used in the future?

This post will illustrate the growing power of social media and the likelihood of this trend to continue.

Size of Social Media:

Top Social Networking Platform:
  • Facebook had over 370 million visitors in the last month
  • Over 160 billion page views
Top Social Bookmarking Platform:
  • Digg had over 23 million visitors in the last month

  • Over 410 million page views
Top Microblogging Platform:
  • Twitter had over 66 million visitors in the last month

  • Over 4 billion page views
Over 184 million blogs have been created worldwide, while 346 million people read blogs worldwide.

The particularly interesting thing is that all of these technologies have continued their growth in recent years. This doesn't mean that a single technology can't die because it can. Myspace was once the largest social networking tools, but the creation of other options has led to a decline in popularity and traffic. When one technology falls another one rises. Out of the slightly burning embers of Myspace grew Facebook. Out of the ashes of chat rooms grew social networks, discussion boards and blogs.

Research, innovations in technology, business trends and the zeitgeist all indicate that social media's size and power will remain on the incline.

Why is Social Media Appealing?

There are a plethora of reasons social media has grown in rapid fashion over the last decade, but most importantly it is because each individual can have a unique experience depending on their habits, strengths and interests.

A user can be extremely active or they can barely participate. It is the users choice whether to be a member of a Ning group, a discussion board, have a Facebook profile, start a Youtube channel or any other number of things. Users can decide whether or not they simple want to view content or whether they want to participant in the creation of content. Users can chose how they want to be known both visually and with respect to their personality. They can alter their user interface as well as their method of communication.

More importantly than all of the use based choices is the ability to become affiliated with whatever community is desired. A user can become a part of a political discussion board, a Boston Red Sox blog, an accountant's Twitter stream, or a single mother's photo sharing community.

In social media, a user is free to affiliate themselves with whomever they wish, whether like minded or not. It is this freedom of expression and acceptance into groups that makes social media so appealing to people. The rules of proximity and status levels dictating personal relationships are thrown out the window with the advent of social media.

Social media can be the digital embodiment of the "American Dream." Anybody can start a blog, work diligently and become a pseudo celebrity/financial success.

Social Media is also appealing to brands and businesses. It presents a new method of communication for brands. Social media:
  • Is a platform that is significantly lower in cost than traditional marketing and public relations platforms

  • Gives brands greater power of messaging control

  • Allows for interactivity with consumers and potential clients, which can increase brand advocacy

  • Provides near real-time metrics for top-line understanding of ROI
Pitfalls of Social Media

To truly immerse oneself in social media is to engage in a shift of paradigm and lifestyle. Social media requires focus, intelligence, innovation and above all else simply being present on a regular basis.

The positive aspects of social media like interactivity, networking and community building come with certain time requirements. If you want to become a prominent figure in a large social media network, it requires an immense amount of time. Not only that, but the hours dedicated must be dispersed throughout the day in an effort to respond to people around the world.

In addition to the time commitments, there are certain privacy concerns that arise when asserting oneself in the social media landscape. More and more technologies offer status updates, photo sharing, video sharing, live streaming video and 24 hour connection through mobile devices. These advances in technology can make it seem as though Big Brother is watching or we are living in an Orwellian reality.

Not only do thoughts, images and locations become public but they remain public. Social media tools are highly advanced at archiving their content. This is done both for the user experience and to provide metrics proving the value of the tool. The potential issue with these archiving systems is that what a user says publicly now remains public forever. User's opinions may change, they may be caught in a photo that they wish not be shown or any other number of of examples, but ultimately the universal archival of content can pose real problems for some users.

The Future of Social Media

If nothing else, social media has proved to be unpredictable. The ability to truly predict what technologies become popular, what videos become viral and how much people will value the ability to share their opinion in a public forum is difficult to determine. A few trends have emerged that should continue based on human nature and social media culture:
  • Social media will become more manageable. There is already a trend to combine multiple social media platforms in a single interface like Tweetdeck or Google Wave, but the variety of platforms means a need for an all-inclusive management system.

  • Brands and marketers will continue to find ways to automate their social media communications initiatives. Whether consumers agree with this tactic or not, developers will create tools that they can sell to businesses, who will in turn use them to streamline the outreach process.

  • Business and organizations will implement more restrictions. Social media policies are a highly discussed topic amongst anybody dealing with brand reputation. There are a number of social media policies in place and made public. This will undoubtedly continue as social media evolves.

  • There will be an increase in group and community development. Social media users are now finding that a path to social media happiness or success can be best achieved by uniting with others. Groups like SB Nation, eMarketing association and wefollow tags are prime examples of people uniting to bolster their own efforts while connecting with interested/interesting people.


Post a Comment

Who? Why?

Social media often becomes a rat race. Who has the newest technology? Who has the most friends or followers? This blog is designed to slow it down a little and remind people that at its core, social media is about relationships and conversations.

Jake Rosen
Managing Supervisor, Fleishman-Hillard

The content on this site reflects my own opinions and not necessarily those of my employer.


Blogumulus by Roy Tanck and Amanda Fazani

Random Post

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Social Media Munchies. Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner Converted into Blogger Template by Bloganol dot com