You can’t open your email/browser/feed reader/blog these days without being confronted by someone trying to flog you social media services, social media courses, social media marketing advice etc. Companies are popping up all over the place charging you money to teach you how to use Facebook or set up a Twitter account.
Let’s be clear. “Social media” isn’t new and it isn’t a fad. Humans are social creatures – and we’ve been on the planet for a while. We like to stay in touch with our friends/family/colleagues/clients/customers etc. We simply have a different set of tools to communicate with people these days compared to previous generations. What’s new is the immediacy, the geographical reach and the accessibility.
You can talk with your mate in Australia on Skype whilst chatting with your brother in Dublin on Facebook all the while uploading videos to You Tube of your latest holidays. You can tell 1000s of people about your latest product launch or your coolest special offer simply by typing a few words into Twitter. It’s all there, all instant and all free.
The Internet is the most revolutionary communication tool since Alexander Graham Bell said “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” Of that there is no question. It doesn’t mean though that we have all suddenly become brilliant communicators. It doesn’t mean that just because the tools are there that anybody is listening.
Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, You Tube etc. have given us the tools to communicate more effectively but if the message is wrong in the first place none of this matters. In fact, given the noise levels on sites such as Twitter and Facebook and the competion for our attention from other media (TV, Radio, Print), the clear presentation of your idea is the most important thing whether it’s written on parchment or in magic flashlights in the snow.