Social media is now integrated into many parts of our lives, and is changing the way we communicate, but is it for the greater good? Nick weighs up the positives and negatives:
Social Media? I love it!
- Keeping up-to-date and in touch – The internet + smartphones = a new way of communicating that is not only creative but also a hell of a lot of fun. Whether it’s checking your Twitter feed every 10 minutes to see what’s going on in the world or uploading a lovely edited image of your cat on Instagram, it really is easier than ever share your life with your loved ones/hated ones/family/friends/strangers.
- New opportunities – Thanks to these new communication channels social media offers a whole new world to explore. LinkedIn provides recruiters with an interactive, online CV of potential candidates. Pinterest enables users to get inspiration for pretty much anything creative, including fashion advice, wedding plans and cooking recipes. These are now all at the touch of your fingertips on your phone. Oh how things have changed from the days of playing Snake on our Nokia 3210’s.
- Intelligent marketing – Obviously I had to mention this, as we base many a marketing strategy on this idea. Social media advertising is actually still in its growth period, but it allows consumers to get adverts that are specifically targeted to them based on their interests, likes, location and much more. Also, if you don’t like what you see, you can simply ask to not see these ads. Social media advertising is now a powerful and cost effective tool that any business can take advantage of.
Nonsense, I hate social media
- A new generation of people showing off – Instagram makes it easy for people to take a picture of themselves, then upload it directly to Facebook and Twitter. In the perfect world they’d be of interesting and cultured aspects of their life, that people find genuinely fascinating. Enter the ‘Selfie’. This is essentially an excuse to take 20 photos of yourself, upload the best one and wait for the compliments saying how pretty/handsome you are. It’s attention seeking to a new level. It allows the self lovers to further inflate their egos, just in a more personal way.
- I don’t care – Photos of what you’ve had for breakfast… Comments on how good the latest Britain’s Got Talent performance was… A comment about the weather and what you’re watching this evening… Sound boring? These are first three status updates I’ve just read on my Facebook feed this morning. Sometimes it’s just tedious, especially Facebook.
- New rude face-to-face etiquette – The new generation are growing up thinking it’s acceptable to talk to a person and check Twitter at the same time, or eat with a fork in one hand and a phone in the other. Unfortunately this is reality. Social media has turned people to have full conversations with friends in the public domain, which often ends in tears (especially when your boss is watching!).
Verdict: It’s here to stay, might as well accept it!
There are some brilliant and creative aspects to social media often destroyed by selfish human nature, however it’s here to stay. You can either reject it and constantly try your hardest to avoid it, or at least try to get involved and see its benefit. I’ve often heard people saying ‘DON’T USE FACEBOOK IT’S MAKING YOU PAY TO SHOW YOUR UPDATES’. It’s boring and out of touch. Especially in business, it opens a huge door to communicate with your potential and current customers and should be an essential part of your marketing communications strategy.
Facebook is tweaking its algorithm so that the most interesting and informative stories pop up, based on your activity. Admittedly, this does mean they have more control over your feed and their advertising capabilities. But they have to find a balance, or they know people will go to Twitter, Snapchat or whatever’s next around the corner…
I say – go and enjoy it, use social media for business and pleasure to maximise the benefit of reaching out to people. And block people who repeatedly take selfies.