Using Social Media in Marketing : Part 1

The Birth of The Social Network

Okay, so unless you have had your head buried under a rock for the past 5 years, you have likely come across the a little website called Facebook. And if you watch CNN at all you’ve probably seen Anderson Cooper inviting you to join the conversation on Twitter. And of course, who hasn’t wasted precious minutes, not to mention company bandwidth, watching dancing cats on YouTube. Social Networks. User Generated Content. Social Media. Buzz words galore. Tweetups. Meetups. Twestivals. Blogs and Vlogs. To many, it seems like an entirely new dialect has sprung up almost overnight. If it feels like everyone else in the office is hip to the scene except you, it shouldn’t. Like all trends that seem to sprout from nowhere, they begin with a vocal minority who like to think they are part of a movement the rest of us are not privvy to. Now, the trend has reached the mainstream, and its never too late to get up to speed and join the ever-growing throng of cool kids with their Tweety pages MyFace profiles.

It’s time to join the world of the Social Network.

Heck, you may even already write a blog about your pet, or cupcakes, or rebuilding early Kawasaki motorcycle engines. There’s a good chance you already friended all your high school buddies on Facebook. And there are undiscovered species of South American wood beetle who already find YouTube passé. The world of YouTube is so vast and fascinating, its rise to ubiquity is nothing short of monumental. It’s a much published fact that YouTube is currently the second largest search engine on the web, after Google, it’s parent company. But look closer at YouTube and the real action takes place below the video; in the comments, the like/dislike and the share options. This is where media gets ‘social’. Admittedly, YouTube has a bit of a reputation for some abusive behavior in the comment section, but look beyond YouTube to Vimeo, Flickr and Disqus, to countless blogs, to the current fad of live streaming services like Stickam and UStream, and you will see media creators sharing work and their audience sharing their feedback in a responsible and passionate manner.

Social Networks and Social Media simply refer to a new breed of website. What makes these websites, or services, so special? It is the ‘social’ element in Social Networking that is the big differentiator. Previously, websites, like most ‘old media’ were uni-directional – they delivered information to us on a one way street.. As consumers, viewers and readers we would passively sit and absorb what was being put in front of us. The new, social web is all about The Conversation. Media is now about being bi-directional, from creator to consumer and back again.

Tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at what exactly Social Media is, who is using it and how it works. Check back then, or better yet subscribe with your RSS reader and have the series delivered to your inbox.

If you have any questions regarding this article, or would like to discuss setting up a social media platform for your organization, leave a comment below or contact me through the Contact Me page.

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