Saturday, March 24, 2012

Social Media Thoughts - Part 1

It has been over three years since I first touched on the topic of social networking. Since December 2008, much has changed in the United States and the world. More and more people are using social media personally to stay connected and the business community around the globe continues to adopt social media tools as a means of getting and staying closer to their customers. Facebook will become a publicly traded company this year while MySpace continues to fade into the memory of history.

My own thinking on the use of social media continues to develop as time passes. I no longer use MySpace but have enthusiastically embraced Facebook and Twitter. In both networks I have met some amazing people with a wide array of interesting views on any topic you can imagine. Without a doubt there are many views with which I simply do not agree but I believe it is important for opinions from a Christian worldview to be expressed. For the most part, the people I interact with are respectful of one another even when we disagree.

Individuals and businesses have varying approaches to their use of social media that differ significantly from my own approach. Some people are very open to connect with others (like me) while others only connect with a small group of close friends. Some use many different services while others stick to one or two. Different services target segments of the population and fill differing needs. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, I use LinkedIn for professional contacts. As expected, there is some overlap among the various platforms.

Business users have different reasons for engaging social media. They have marketing reasons for doing so though I submit to the business community that social media fundamentally alters the marketing equation in ways that have yet to become apparent. In this space the advantage will go to the early adopters! Some businesses allow comments on their various sites while others are very controlling of all content. Both approaches have pros and cons. I favor the open approach personally as it allows others to see how the business interacts with less than glowing remarks about their products, services, or the experiences of those with whom they have done business.

I have become a fan of social media. It is a powerful, inexpensive way to reach a large number of people. There are tremendous implications to the way people receive news, entertainment, education, and remain connected to each other. My next blog will discuss the use of social media in the church.


Rum-Punch Drunk said...

I am just about starting to get use to using any type of social media. I think at one point it had a bad name so I was reluctant to get involved. It does open up many doors, and I guess you can also be open to abuse if not careful.

I too like the idea of interaction with people and various views, so although I appreciate comments critical or not, I am also aware of the one spammer who gets a message in every so often that I have to delete. ( not interested in advertising escort agencies on my blog, even if they leave a positive robotic message) but that comes with the territory.
Nice post though, I'll think about the other social media sites.

Dan Smith said...

I too am a fan of social media, though I was a late bloomer, starting with Blogger and then Facebook, Twitter, etc. Still learning how to make my "brand" bigger, if you will, which simply means I'm trying to expand my level of influence. We shall see how it goes in the future. Best wishes! I think I follow you on everything but LinkedIn.

Chris Sanchez said...

@Dan Smith: like you, I started with the blog before getting involved with Facebook and MySpace. Twitter and LinkedIn came later and I have not yet branched out beyond those. Really appreciate being connected and sharing various happenings in life with you and so many others. God is certainly blessing me and my family!

@Rum-Punch Drunk: social media is certainly open to abuse but when you think about it, what communication media isn't? I believe we are only scratching the surface of how the Internet will change our world. Consider this: the possibility of people from anywhere in the world having access to scholarship from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford, and on and on at the click of a mouse.

The thing about the Internet in general and social media specifically that really strikes me is how it is changing the way we think about privacy. The lines are blurring and how this plays out is going to be VERY interesting to watch.