18 April, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: How Do You Using Social Media?

I remember when I thought that Facebook was pointless. I had the idea it was only used for people who were in college, and I wasn’t in school so I didn’t see a reason to sign up. People convinced me to check it out, and told me that more than just students were using it. Now my mother posts more on Facebook than I do.

The point is that everyone is using social media today, and it is used for more than just telling people what is on your mind. Social media can be used for many different reasons including locating people, gathering information, advertising, as a resume of sorts, but most importantly as a tool to connect with other people.

Think of what happened in Egypt as a prime example. A Google executive Wael Ghonim started a Facebook page that called for protests on January 25th, which is now known as the “Day of Wrath.” He called for the protests in response to the violent beating death of an Egyptian businessman, who was beaten to death after he planned on exposing corruption in the government. The page was named after the man who died, and was called “We are all Khaled Said.” Ghonim was arrested on January 28th and was released twelve days later. The rest is history.

I remember following a New York Times list on Twitter that posted people live in Tahrir Square as the news Mubarak had stepped down. One woman posted that she couldn’t stop laughing and crying at the same time, and I could follow Egyptian’s reactions as they were happening in real-time. It was so moving that I almost cried myself.

Ghonim used social media to broadcast his message, and gather people to form a revolution. This has spawned many other similar events in the Middle East such as Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen; and others are just now beginning to quell into a true social movement for change.

Social media allows for someone to get a message out quickly, and to a large number of people. Word spreads quickly on Facebook and Twitter, and news is almost instantaneous. With the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan the news of the event came from social media first, with the actual news second going so far as to cite what they were seeing on Twitter as sources.

What do you think it would have been like on 9/11 if Facebook and Twitter were around then, and were used in the capacity that they are today? It could have been much easier for people to find out if their loved ones were okay via social media avenues. Imagine if social media was around during the times of the Titanic?

It is clear that social media is changing the way that information is disseminated. The news that Michael Jackson died shut down Twitter for a short period of time. This is an example of how often today people get their news from social media and from their friends. Who better to trust than your friends on social media?
Advertising has been changed tremendously and most companies now have social media sites. Even so, some companies have yet to utilize this avenue effectively for marketing purposes, they are left trying to answe the question: How does a Facebook page actually translate to sales?

The bottom line is that social media has an enormous impact on how societies today communicate with each other. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, and it is continuing to grow. It has become an avenue for unprecedented open communication. I think we have just now tipped the iceberg for how it will be used in the future. The question is… how do you use social media?

Robert Devereux , Account Executive Intern/Inquisitive Soul

Last Heard on the Intern Sweatshop: Apparently Our Custmers Like Our Crappy Commercials

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