It wasn't that long ago that the term 'social media' did not even exist, at least not in the context we use today. It's hard to believe that just eleven short years ago, 'LinkedIn was the only social media service available nationwide. (Yes, they were the first.)
Prior to that, 'social media' as a concept meant going to a movie with friends or with family and having a conversation afterward. It was a shared social event, not a means of interaction.
Just as the advent of the cell phone made the traditional telecom obsolete, social media has changed the landscape of our communication forever. But has the quality of our interaction really changed all that much?
Well, yes and no. Social media certainly makes our communication more immediate. It has opened up fresh and exciting ways for us to share our lives through pictures, comments, and random observations. It has made it possible for a new generation of marketers to get the message about a product, service, or cause much easier and far less expensive a proposition. Plus, it's doing all of this in real-time. But has it made communication any better?
It's apples and oranges. There is something to be said about receiving a framed photograph of a loved one through the mail instead of a cold Facebook or Instagram message. The latter can leave you a little flat. Then again. when you do receive that Facebook message with the posted picture on your timeline, you know the poster was thinking about you just seconds before. And that means something too.
Social Media does not replace 'one-on-one' communication, it simply gives us another way to express ourselves to those important to us, whether they are family, friends, clients, or business associates. Kind of like what the telephone did for out great-grandparents.
This has created an unintended boon for business, and has leveled the marketing playing field for the first time in history. What started as a medium for job-seekers with LinkedIn or for young people to share their lives on My Space has become a revolution for the small business that wants to make its message or product known, but never had the capital to realize that vision.
Now they can if they're willing to invest the time in communicating, listening to, and interacting with their customers. While that can represent an enormous investment in time resources and in strategy, the rewards are well worth it if they can make that connection.
Our friends at iDigic put together a great infographic that illustrates Social Media, Branding, and the benefits of leveraging Social Media for Business:
Most people think that social media has completely taken over the one-to-one communication. However, it has not. It has revolutionized it and made it better. Better in a sense, means faster. The way we communicate has changed but still the message conveyed is the same. That is why most online businesses are interested in using social media for taking their business to new heights. Take a look at this infographic –