The Rise of Social Media
We live in an instant world with an ever increasing number of social media platforms. It seems we could spend our day many times over just keeping up to speed with them all, but is this rise in social media all good?
Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+…………..there are quite literally hundreds of social media platforms today. Can anyone really be on them all? I must confess that I’m on a handful of these and one of the reasons I’m not on more is that social media already takes up a lot of my time.
Of course, one of the advantages of social media is the immediacy of information and response. I can tweet something of interest or a query and within minutes get a reply back from someone. I’ve lost count of the interesting information I’ve picked up from twitter which is quite literally hot off the press. But I’d argue it takes a change in mindset to talk in such an instant manner like on Twitter. It certainly took me some time to get used to.
There’s also the other side of the coin, on whether it is actually better to speak to people face to face, to be able to converse in more than 140 characters? There are certainly times when I can’t say what I want to on Twitter, for risk of it going over more than 1 tweet. I’ve always considered myself good at keeping to the point and not rambling, but Twitter has been a whole new ballgame, and if you work to the optimum number of characters in Twitter – around 80 – this is even tougher. LinkedIn isn’t really designed for interaction, although its noticeable of late that they have been pushing this more and more.
If we look a while back at the introduction of Email, some of these concerns were being raised then. I can recall when Email first became mainstream in a work setting and hearing comments like ‘you can’t beat good old face to face conversation’. I remember the Council I was working for at the time only letting certain people have Email – ‘the jobs who will need it’ (i.e. not every job). I’m also yet to meet anyone who wholeheartedly agrees that Email is the best business tool ever and should never be replaced. Which one of us hasn’t complained about the volume of Email at some stage or another? As with most things in life it seems, it has its positives and negatives.
For my money, there is a balance to be made. I’ve been using Twitter regularly now for over a year and I’ve got a lot from it – loads of useful contacts and information. But for me it’s one of many forms of social media. I’ve also been on LinkedIn since about 2003, well before most people in the UK. I remember signing up to LinkedIn and looking for other people to contact and there just not being anyone I knew of at all. How things have moved on since then! For those who are wondering, I’m also not a big user of Facebook anymore – I personally prefer to stick with the more ‘business’ related social media platforms.
I think I’ll be sticking with Twitter and LinkedIn for the foreseeable future, as well as Kred and Klout (see my earlier posts on these). I’m as interested really in seeing where the journey on these platforms will take me and as I’ve said previously, I am always interested in learning.
So, what have your experiences been of using Social Media? Good, bad or indifferent? I guess the debate just might rage on……………