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01 June 2011

Social Media Impact


I recently read a perspective regarding Social Media that resonated with me. To paraphrase the author…The proliferation of Social Media has changed information disbursement from individuals being passive receivers of information to being actively engaged in the exchange of information. (Reference: The Everything Guide to Social Media by John K. Waters).

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I agree with the author’s premise. In today’s world, instead of just opining to our friends about something we hear on the news or information we read on-line, we have access to a larger network. Within minutes of receiving the information we can interact directly with the source and also with tangential “friends” who may align with our perspective on the topic. Now, for me, this is a double-edged sword – with both good and bad repercussions to this instant, bi-directional communication exchange.

Negative aspects include:

• Individuals may feel a false sense of intimacy with strangers that is inappropriate and in some cases dangerous. Even if you have taken steps to make your posts more secure or available to only a select group, there is no guarantee that your posts will only be seen by your intended audience. Security measures aren’t infallible. If you don’t want the world to read it, don’t post it.
• Information overload. It’s impossible to sift through all the information available on a topic unless you make it a full-time job. The amount of information offered – both in the form of opinions from individuals with similar or divergent perspectives and in the form of well-researched data – can be quite overwhelming if you allow it to be.

Active engagement can also be positive:

• Actively engaging with the source or other like-minded people in the world, not just in your community, is very empowering. It allows us to feel connected to a broad community in which we care about what is happening to others and we feel support and/or affirmation for a viewpoint or life event shared.
• It makes it more difficult for a person or group of people to “control the message”, thus I feel more authentic and truthful information is available to everyone.

Increased Individual Responsibility:

The impact of social media also increases individual responsibility. It is more important than ever for individuals to be knowledgeable, thoughtful contributors to the world stage. Educating oneself by reading and listening to multiple conflicting viewpoints and questioning information received versus just taking everything received from one source as factual is paramount.

Notes: Social Media encompasses blogs (e.g., Blogger), microblogs (e.g., Twitter), social networks (e.g., Facebook), media sharing sites (e.g., YouTube, ReverbNation), social bookmarking and voting sites (e.g., Digg, Reddit), review sites (e.g., Yelp), forums, and virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life). All logos on this page are used for illustrative purposes only. Eclectic Verve does not have an affiliation with any of the social media companies represented except as a user of their websites. Click on the logos above to launch Eclectic Verve’s presence on the social media sites displayed.

This is my view. What is your perspective?

3 Responses

  1. On the surface social media looks like a “new form of free target marketing.” However, traditional marketing methods don’t work on social media and an attempt to use traditional methods (broadcasting and mass distribution of marketing messages, etc.) could seriously hurt the reputation of your business.

    Alternatively, use social media for conversations with people in your target market. Then, make your website easy to access via your social sites. THAT’s where you can do business. Social sites are for conversations. Websites are for business (and marketing, and advertising, and selling).

  2. We met at a social media seminar. After looking at your online sites and reading this blog, it’s apparent that you have a good grasp of how social media can be used as a business tool.

    The point you make about “individual responsibility” resonates with me the most. Using social media requires social skills, and starts with the individual taking personal responsibility. It is not traditional mass media, and can’t be viewed or used as such.

    I hope you will continue building your digital presence — I will refer to it often as a model of how to do it right!


    1. Thank you for your kind remarks, Debi. I appreciate the affirmation that we’re on the right track. Coming from a communications professional such as yourself, I consider that high praise.

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