While social media is theoretically a technology for sharing information and facilitating conversations between people in an easy and social manner – social media evolved to an engagement model that introduced significant change to our society both in business and personal relationships.
Impact on our society
Social media is in part responsible for the democratization of influence, adding a significant balance to the otherwise commercially or politically influenced traditional media including corporate messaging. Through the omnipresent Internet and the ability to create unlimited personal connections around the glob, the number of trusted sources of information is growing, less structured and more individual than ever before. It is harder than ever before to influence the masses through traditional media and requires substantial support from the engaged and highly active social media population. The presidential campaign from President Barack Obama was a cornerstone in the evolution of Social Media.
Impact on business and organizations
Businesses and governments leverage social media primarily to strengthen customer or political relationships, create a better customer experience or a better political climate and benefit from the two way communication Social Media is providing. For instance getting feedback on almost any aspects of a given activity or plan has never been faster and broader. Collaboration with a large number of constituencies has never been easier and learning has never been more comprehensive. Building business relationships in an ever more global business climate has never been easier. Yet – Social Media poses an often underestimated long term threat to those who are ignoring the development of our fast evolving society. The term “Digital Divide” was augmented with another term “Social Divide” and adds another layer to the already existing social divide between well educated and less educated groups of our respective societies.
Individuals use social media to share parts of their lives with friends and family as well as random connections by publishing thoughts, opinions, experience, photos, images, video clips and in many other ways. Some use social media to find new jobs or strengthen or present their skills.
Creating large networks, learning fast from an unparalleled large number of people and getting answers to virtually any question from almost any of the over 1 Billion participants in the social web, is the result of the wide open and highly transparent structure of Social Media. However newcomer to Social Media often times feel uncomfortable about the openness and transparency. Open information flow and privacy are building an oxymoron. Users are need to be advised NOT sharing anything in the Social Web they consider private or personal that needs to be protected. Social Media is simply not built for sharing private information.