"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Friday, October 8, 2010

My friend: The Social Media

posted by Ayesha

The ever changing social media vs. the conventional word of mouth advertising was the debate I read recently on a blog. Not a known blog, just a random rant of an advertising professional who had retired to blogging to pass his time.
On most of these blogs that analyze the impact of social media, while the writers rave on about the role of tweets in changing the world to a well informed, well read contruct; I read on for some heady stimulation that will tell me something I don’t already know.
Or something that I have not already read (Not that I am suggesting I am a reading addict, far from it actually - just imagine my disappointment thus).
Maybe I am jaded but then I know this for sure, from the blogs that I follow to the Facebook likes that I love to click on, I am yet to find a real place for social media in my world.
Other than filling my free moments, I have yet to see if it really fits the role of a life changing, an opinion shaping, an earth shatteringly strong/ mild dose of information inject that it is perceived to be by the analytics. Does it shape my opinion? Yes.
But I don’t think I can *share* it yet. Maybe I can do it on the next Tweet that catches my attention.
But then that’s the whole point. Social media is offering us freedom and superfluous socializing opportunities.
The idea behind this particular article that I read was about interaction having become two way through the medium. One relevant point that I am all for; of course it’s all about clicking submit.
The writer managed to convince me that conventional advertising through word of mouth was in an incomplete campaign in itself. The consumers when now have the chance to use a product and then comment on it, have the power to now change the dimension of advertising completely. I totally agree.
What I do have a problem with is the fuss that is being made about the social media in the process. Fully aware of the fact that it is a medium that cannot be controlled in any of its dimensions, how much can we trust an entity that is absolutely free?
I understand how one relevant opinion piece by Fasi Zaka is repetitively *shared* on facebook for that mere percentage of our youth who can read and ARE able to connect on FB.
I also appreciate how it serves to highlight an issue that would probably not find its due share of attention on traditional media. bBut what happens to an anonymous writer who makes a point and is not able to put it on an authentic blog; does he/ she find h/is/er trust with the reader? Just a random thought.
In his 3 dimensional advertising theory, the writer talked about the content spreading like a wild fire. I then wondered about the fires that do spread in our part of the country.
The wondering being that I am, I couldn’t help but also wonder about the use of the word ‘wild’ by the author.
How wild is the news we read on social media. Oh better yet, how wild are we to believe it? And how many of us are wild enough to write it? Okay that last question is perhaps better left unanswered.
While I am ABLE to comprehend the power of social media in the small, budding life of the PR industry in my country where literacy is little and internet penetration a small seed; I often think about how significant is social media for us?
Here I am referring to the US - Us who are the elistist facebookers and are linked on the In. With our supersonic broadband / wiresless connections, we who are the real people affected by the social media in this time and place, WE - who can read and write and rewrite. Wonder some more and then wonder again.
I am wondering still.
In the PR industry where I am a professional content developer, I understand and realize the constraints that research resources of the noble social media bring with them. When I speak of constraints here, they are not lack of speed or how I cannot stream enough. They are a wee bit more complicated than that.
For one, authenticity of content is such a huge issue for people like moi that I’d probably never be able to whine enough about it. Maybe someone else out there can scream for me.
While having the internet is such a great blessing, Google being the best thing that happened to man since the telephone, I am also faced with the downside of the blessing.
In the big bad world of internet, for me nothing is real and nothing is safe. Everything I see is a creation (not always in a good way) or a re- creation and I don’t mean recreation there.
With all due respect to inspirational writers on the social media and the analytics of its impact, I believe that the this untamed world belongs to an intelligent user/ writer/ reader.
A person who understands that not everything on the social media can be *shared*. Not everything is credible and not everything is correct.
I don’t believe we can entirely keep up with the pace of the changing phenomenon but what we can do is be a part of it. However little is the feedback we can provide, we must do our part at least. Interactivity could be the key.
One thing to note is the communication we make - It reflects on us, on what we portray; the world of internet is only visual, a little care to choose the interaction could go a long way. Choosing the interaction means two things:
One - Choose a platform that helps you.
Two - Choose your words wisely.
When the flood relief news broke on the channels, I was already a little informed because of the industry I am in, but the way the information spread over blogs, Facebook and websites gave me a fair idea of what a wild fire actually is.
The same content that I had prepared was all over Facebook and telecom blogs. Even now I see it being replicated and pasted, even in places I wouldn’t want to be seen but there it is. I have no control and little control is what drives this form of media. Whether I like it or not it is *shared*. A great way to make noise but is noise all we want to make?
So while I am jaded and a little old fashioned, a wee bit wary of the content I find on my RSS feeds and a little fed up for the lack of real NEWS on news feeds, I am a little hopeful too.
Maybe the social media will evolve into some kind of a process or an institution in itself. It is possible that we will give birth to the intelligent user who will not be carried away in the fire but use its warmth and light to see the way.
And carry it too. More power to interactivity and a little wisdom to us - the users!


Nabeel said...

I'm not sure what you're trying to say - you've stuffed in lots of thoughts without managing to weave them into a coherent stream of thought. Some of your statements are right, some are wrong (I'm referring to the 'facts' here). Opinions of course may differ - but what exactly is your opinion?

I don't like to be critical,but to be honest, this is a poorly written post/article.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate your feedack Nabeel.

The opinion perhaps that I was trying to get at was that social media may have a lot of power but the real power is with the intelligent user.