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15 April 2013 @ 10:06 am
the social project  
Growing up with MS-DOS and the new and exciting Windows 95, I never would have dreamed of something like social media. Even in college, when Facebook really started taking off, I was hesitant to get involved. I mean, I'd done the MySpace scene. I didn't need to do it again. It was a fun site for awhile and then I was done with the glittery pages filled with constant noise that my friends insisted was good music. And this Facebook thing was a more basic version, flat white page and nothing except your name and a short bar to put your thoughts in? Please. I was far too verbose for that, which was why I blogged. I didn't blog often, life getting in the way, but it was still a great place to brush up on my skills. What did social media offer?

What did it offer indeed.

Social media now heralds as one of the fastest growing ways to get your brand out there. From Twitter to Facebook and whatever else will come next, it's a new and personal way to interact with followers and fans. It's not just for you and your crazy aunt you don't see except at family reunions - it's for companies, too.

So why am I discussing it?

I'm writing this post today because a lot of people don't think that they belong on social media, for whatever reason. A co-worker who works with media and communications just sort of laughed at the idea of being on Twitter. "What would I say?" she said. "I don't understand any of that sort of stuff. What good will it do me?"

It'll offer a way to see the news in the world in real-time. (Can we talk about Egypt last year? Or Hurricane Sandy updates?) It'll be a way to connect with millions of people around the globe. Social media will introduce diversity in such a common-place way that you'll surprise even yourself. Connect with names you know and want to follow, from the top political leaders all the way down to your favorite B-list celebrity. Social media will offer a way to get connected to what matters to you.

Over the past few months, my job has shown me the invaluable marketing and PR power of social media. And frankly, it's fun. It's a new way of reaching out to people and supplying information that was already there in a consumer-friendly manner. It's a way of interacting with people from around the globe whom you never would've thought of as being interested in a brand or campaign. People can communicate without feeling stifled or not good enough to speak up.

Of course, then you get the ones who hide behind the anonymity of the internet to throw racial, sexist, and other hurtful slurs at you just because they can. It's not ever really at you as an individual, it's the brand/agency/take your pick, but it still feels personal. So social media certainly has its drawbacks.

Yet I still hold that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Whether you're a photo taker or a verbose individual who can't shut up (like someone I know, hmm), there is a social media channel for you. And I can guarantee that you'll get something out of it.

So to my co-worker who thinks she won't belong because she's older and isn't "tech-savvy," I have only this to say: social media isn't for an age group. It's for everyone. Get involved: you won't regret it.
velvetwhip: applausevelvetwhip on April 15th, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC)
Very interesting essay!

The EV0l Twinwritan_bur on April 15th, 2014 03:46 pm (UTC)
Well said!

And I would add: it's a way to reconnect with people too. Because sometimes all that's needed is a click of that 'like' button to let people know you're still there and still care. Or to share that pic with your family who is half-way round the world and wouldn't get to see you otherwise.

If my mum in her 60s and my aunt in her 70s can do FB, then so can your co-worker (and darn, was I tempted to write cow-orker, bad internet!). There's a use of social media for every age group!