Whilst I’m not necessarily the best person to answer this as I am middle aged, with several ‘digitally native’ children and I don’t even tweet after meals, but, I have my opinions – as does everyone nowadays. I know that I love and hate Social Media at the same time. I hate it mainly because of the amount of time it steals from people and that it encourages people to be self important and selfish, assuming, greedy, sloppy and to use language very poorly; this is highlighted in the below bullets from the essay by Oscar Wilde, “Politics and the English Language”. My comments (in line, in italics) mean to accentuate some of the elements of Social Media that I personally dislike.
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
JF: tweeting, the term ‘internet of things’ and of course ‘The Cloud’ are cause for concern.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
JF: I’m not sure long words exist in Social Media or if abbreviations count as short ones?
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
JF: Most of what I’m exposed to on Facebook is meaningless and should be cut out. It would take me hours a day to get through my ‘News Feed’.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
JF: Instead, just ask everyone to like and share your posts or passively ’de-friend’ them, that’s tense.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
JF: LOL, ROFL
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
But, as a new method of communicating, I love Social Media, and that love goes well beyond just being able to keep in touch with good, old, friends; I love its ability to create change and its ability to expedite transformation.
When people need to communicate en mass to achieve something or to ensure a message is heard, it’s as effective as an atom bomb. Social Media is changing entire nations and ways of life. Strong genuine messages are reaching their relevant audiences alongside all the other fluff that we all seem to now love. For me, Social Media is the fluff and the buzzword for the technology that powers it. Social Communication is what it is all about.
Look at all the discussion that came of out the Sainsbury’s WW1 advert. Whatever anyone says, the advert raised awareness to some of the troubles of war, past and present, and the social activity that followed, compounded the awareness further. Charities are obvious beneficiaries of social communication; research projects from charities such as RAFT and Walking with the Wounded are able to get more relevant feedback and information, and therefore progress faster in specifying and building new solutions and technologies for healing wounds and digitising prosthetics (which I find fascinating) for example; bringing many heads together to enhance research and bring awareness is good. As a related aside, please see the invite to the ‘3 Steps to the Future’ if this is of interest to you.
But not everything you read is 100% relevant to you. This is where it gets even more exciting. Social Media also helps create relevance by generating useful information about people for targeting content and communications; it creates topics and highlights interests that people have in common and can now share; this makes everyone’s experience of content, be it mass market, or longtail, news, stories, adverts, reviews, films and even music…more relevant to them.
Marketing Technologies are honing this and are experiencing immense change and influence due to the amount and variance of data available, how it is managed and how it is related to what people want from their online experience – I feel these guys are shaping the web of the future. If I am going to see an advert, content or even update, I would rather it was relevant; If I don’t have to look for it, even better, as long as it isn’t obtrusive. There are lots of businesses successfully using solutions from startups like Intent HQ, Brandvee, Futurelytics, Qubit, Ometria, Dotmailer and Yotpo that create specific and useful online experiences, dependant on the angle you have, want or need…and Social Media is powering it up.
Social Media is part of Change, Change is necessary, Digital Transformation is an important part of change, Technological and Environmental improvements are critical, Social Communication is great…Social Media is good if used wisely.
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