Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Is Social Media a Fad?

“If Facebook  was a country it would be the world’s 4th largest” – I paused, thought about it again, and smiled after watching this video presentation posted on Youtube by a colleague member of the social media group on Linkedin. The 21st Century virtual world is growing enormously and I think it’s based on the fundamental fact that the cyber world has no boundaries let alone, a President, Minister or immigration officer to be in charge. No visa needed, the only green card of citizenship is getting internet access. The speed at which we travel is only a click away in the cyber world.

If the number of people in this virtual world is skyrocketing then obviously, it’s become part of our life today. Some of us first login to our social network pages after launching our browsers before checking emails. Number of friends online are becoming more than offline friends again regardless boundaries with increase in diversity. The spirit of network building among various interest groups in the cyber world is countless – we see it in various discussion groups and forums on Ning, Google, Yahoo, etc. Besides, there’s been high increase in online education according to a report by US Department of Education. Not to mention the high rate of online banking and transactions on Amazon, EBay, and PayPal. In this information age, what happens to anyone in any country stays on; Facebook, Orkut, Bebo, Flickr, Digg, MySpace, Youtube, etc.

News papers are experiencing record decline in circulation because we no longer search for the news, the news finds us. For example, more and more pieces of content (web links, news stories, articles, blog posts, notes, articles, photos, videos, podcasts, etc.) are shared on Facebook and Twitter daily. In the near future, we will no longer search for products and services; they will find us with social media.

No wonder businesses and government institutions are partaking in social media activities to reach out to their share of the virtual community. Many business organisations are using Linkedin, Monster.com and Dice.com as their primary tool to find employees. Others target Ads based on either your PC internet protocol (IP) address to determine your location or content of your keywords in search results to market their products and services. If businesses want to innovate and grow, it depends on how they value and treat information as I mentioned in my first blog post "Is business life water". Successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators and content providers than traditional advertisers – by listening first and selling second.

Some government use social media to communicate and engage citizens in various policy programs for their country. Others use social media as a target for their campaign purposes.

In this new dawn of the 21st Century, I am yet to read about “Cybernomics Theory” proposed by today’s Adam Smith, depicting the “digital hand” rather than the “invisible hand”.

Social media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we live, communicate, connect and relate to each other in the 21 Century. So see you on Facebook and don’t forget to twitt my blog!

© Harry Tetteh