Still Think Social Media Is A Fad?
October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
The Power of Social Media:
[There are this people who still think of social media as a fad, but on the contrary, there’s those intelligent people who thinks of it as the biggest shift of this century in terms of connectivity. ]
In the last century, everything was in one place then various technologies begin to mess up our perfect world with unfamiliar new. Since the first computer desktop in 1981 and the beginning of World Wide Web in 1993, we definitely were losing control over such innovative technologies including the Internet. But eventually in the last couple of years we started to not be so surprised by what the technology is coming up with. Especially with web 2.0 technologies, which is the web technologies that allows users to interact and collaborate with each other. We started to have control over these technologies and use them efficiently in our own interest as individuals and exceed to be efficient at businesses level. The best example for the interactive web 2.0 technologies is the social media that makes the world look like a small village where most of people are connecting and communicating with each other in various ways, ignoring boundaries and crossing the seas. Where the people are not receivers of information produced by limited specialized groups. We reached a level where more than 2 billions are Internet users, which means that 25% of the entire world is connected. The Internet became a human right in civilized countries like in France, and considered a key factor in the economy.
“I want people to feel the same about the next Internet breakthrough as they did about the moonwalk. ”
This is what Barack Obama, President of United States said last month in the day that he spent in Facebook headquarter with the young CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Of course Obama would appreciate the technology that was one of the main factors of success in his presidential campaign.
There are these people who still think of social media as a fad, but on the contrary, there are the intelligent people who think of it as the biggest shift of this century in terms of globalization and connectivity. In the digital era, we are literally experiencing a time of change, where our generation is evolving into a new media behavior, which is the social media. At first, it’s spectacular how social media have influential power that goes beyond the traditional media. Moreover, there’s numerous good causes happened using the social media’s power. And finally, the social media influential impact on businesses and being one of the success key factors nowadays.
The influence power of social media is obvious, especially in this year playing an important role of the Middle East revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya uprising. Tech-empowered young people using social media led the historic moments. Governments were afraid of the Internet because of the powerful social media; they intentionally cut the Internet connections in the whole country because of their fear. Everybody was connecting with each others, knowing the latest news about what is really happening in these countries. The news agencies and the TV channels were amazed with these innovative new ways of connectivity like for instance, when everybody in Altahrir Square in Cairo became the correspondents posting the latest news attached with pictures and videos on social networks. This social media’s ways of use forced the TV channels to launch their own social platforms for people, to let them share their news with rest of the world. To be specific, I remember that Aljazeera TV wanted to keep up with the tremendous flow of events; so it launched their own shareable website http://sharek.aljazeera.net and also Al- Arabiya TV followed that and did the same with similar website called Share.alarabiya.net and also created profiles in social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All of this resulted because they knew the influence power of Internet users, and the fact that all of their employees and journalists were just not enough. Waddah Khanfar the general manager of Aljazeera TV said that,
“We in Al Jazeera were banned from Tunisia for years, and the government did not allow any Al Jazeera reporter to be there. But we found that these people in the street, all of them are our reporters, feeding our newsroom with pictures, with videos and with news. And suddenly that newsroom in Doha became a center that received all this kind of input from ordinary people — people who are connected to the Internet. “
The other best example is the reaction of people to the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death. The reaction was swift. Did you know that the social network, Twitter reached more than 4000 Tweets (micro-post less than 160 characters) per second after Obama’s speech announcing Bin Laden’s death for two hours?
Moreover, not everybody knows about the tweet that were posted before Obama’s speech declaring the news, by Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he typed this, “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn. ” Ironically, these 63 characters caused chaos inside the White House because it reached a lot of people, and forced them to let the president of United States hurry to address the nation and the world. Can you imagine how a single unconfirmed post caused chaos for the U.S. government? When Barack Obama addressed the Middle East people in his last speech, he emphasize this important issue again, which is the one that I’ am talking about;
“social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before… new generation has emerged. “
Actually to support Obama’s statement, I’m proud to say that my friends in my hometown Riyadh have taken advantage of the strength of social media in their favor. In 24 March 2011 a group of young ambitious people decided to organize for a new idea in raising money to support orphan kids. The beauty of the idea was that it’s going a campaign using the social network Twitter and only Twitter, no newspaper ads, no street ads. Calling it, “Riyadh Twestival 2011” they managed to engage famous local figures on twitter to be the ambassadors of the cause and promote it through the Internet. The aim was to raise 60 thousands riyal in one week to financially support one orphan child. Surprisingly, they received the 60 thousands in only 24 hours, even them seems to be underestimating the power influence of social media. They precede the campaign to a higher aim, which is supporting a second child, and by the end of the week, they got 120 thousands riyal from people and local small businesses and even STC participated. The amazed team was greedy and continued the Twitter campaign for another week and a third kid. Astonishingly, they end up with more than 232 thousands riyal supporting three beautiful young girls From Insan Charity Committee: 5-year-old called Hessa, 6-year-old called Sara, and 9-year-old girl called Al-batool. The leader of the team, Raed Alsaeed said this statement, “We expected our mission to be difficult, but you made it easier by three times. ” How amazing technology can be sharing the hope and joy into lovely young girls?
There is also this story that happened about four months ago: caring Twitter users in Dhahran, east of Saudi Arabia helped to reunite a family with their missing son who’s suffering from autism and got lost in the streets’ city. A guy knew about the missing boy news, so he talked about it on Twitter and amazingly the story hit the social network sphere becoming a hot topic. Concerned and worried people quickly contacted through twitter and organized groups to walk on the near streets to his home, posting a photo and description of the missing 16-year-old Faisal. In three hours later they found the kid. Can you believe it? Even the American Internet blogs were amazed by the story and talked about it.
Another major influence the social media has is, that it revolutionized how marketers communicate with consumers, and the businesses are finally beginning to grasp the importance of taking advantage of the social media in their favor. Needless to say the fact that people are shifting from just scanning the traditional media such as television and newspaper to using the internet and especially the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin the business social website. Let’s take Saudi Arabia for instance; Google said that the Internet users hit a level of more than ten million users in Saudi Arabia. People in Saudi Arabia are using the Internet on average of 182 minutes per day, which surprisingly started to exceed the daily average of watching TV.
The success of a company lies in knowing more about their customers’ location, and getting them to know the company better by approaching them. This can be achieved by utilizing the social media. Especially with social media at the height of its popularity and the way it’s changing communication with customers on personal levels. Companies needs to think of social networks sites as a key channel for customers. They should take advantage of this on the customer relationships matter. Marsha Collier, an online customer service specialized says that, “For businesses whether they’re brick-and-mortar shops or online businesses being able to monitor customer feedback, respond to complaints and help answer questions across a wide variety of websites is incredibly valuable, and it establishes a rapport with customers, who are likely to spread the word. ” Businesses by using the social media into their interests can help in building strong relationships. Because with it, relationships are the most important factor when it comes to success, especially in being quick to respond and serve their consumers. I would like to say that if businesses have not gotten involved, they are doing their business a very large harm. In a survey, the marketing and research firm eMarketer asked U.S. marketing executives what they felt were the benefits in marketing through the social media. I demand your rationality to take a look at the benefits:
1. -Customer Engagement
2. -Direct Communication with Customers 3. -Speed of Feedback
4. -Learning Customers Preferences
5. -Low Cost
6. -Brand Building
7. -Market Research
8. -Credibility of the “crowd”
10. -Great Lead Generation
I have to admit that there’s a lot of people who think of social media as a meaningless, waste of time on imaginary life, and a silly thing that teenagers use only to have fun spending their time on pointless matters. And there are
also the security issues and privacy concerns that people don’t trust social media because of it. I just want to emphasize that social networks is just a digital tool, and what we do with it is entirely our own responsibility. It’s just like every tool in our lives; we have the free will to use it whether in a good causes, or harm ourselves with; the human mind has no limits. I think we have to evolve as individuals and businesses at least to a level where we can all acknowledge the fact that we shouldn’t be afraid of using new inventions and technologies in our own interest. A lot of people back in years didn’t like the idea of mobile phones and just look how they turned out to be the addictive users of mobile phones. Furthermore on the personal side, I can proudly say that social media benefited me and helped me to improve myself on a daily basis. It managed to let me follow the updates of my interest’s fields like ebusiness, management and marketing, and stay in touch with expert people in these fields. Because of social media, in just four months, I had the chance to participate in four conferences in Riyadh and networking with amazing successful people. I would say that if you use the social media efficiently it would make your social real life better.
To whoever is still underestimating the effectiveness of social media I would like to say, the social media has overthrown a 40 years old government and gave the chance to a young ambitious man to rule the United States of America being the first black president in the history. Thanks to the quick social networking, people in my Saudi Arabia were able to reunite Faisal with his family when even the police stood helpless. It also managed to rise funding to financially support and bring hope to three beautiful girls; Hessa, Sara, and Al-batool. The social media has harmed the reputation of old companies and yet at the same time put small businesses that used it intelligently on top of the game. Seth Godin, the famous marketer says;
“How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?”
And finally, I really can’t forget how Jamal, son of Hosni Mubarak the overthrown Egyptian president, laughed hysterically with his entourage when a journalist was asking if he’s afraid from the young people using Facebook to protest. Who is laughing now? So, I want to ask you again; do you still think of social media as a fad? If you’re intelligent enough, I guess not.
*In this piece, I focused on people who are not-expert in internet or considered to be savvy in using social networks.Follow @Just_Fyd