10 Ways Social Media Is Changing Our Lives
Social media is a force, a huge force and the wave is only just beginning. From Facebook, to Twitter there are millions of people across the world speaking to each other in a way that couldn’t have been contemplated 10 years ago.
The world is a social place, and the world has just reduced in size due to video, internet, mobile phones, and social media.
I am an excited proponent of social media and I have only scratched the surface of what is possible at the moment.
Here are 10 ways I think social media is changing the world.
Gone are the days when a boring old resume will suffice when you are looking to stand out from the crowd of thousands of other boring old resumes. Our resume is our social media persona, our tweets, our online conversations, our forum messages, and our videos.
Social media was made for people looking to be creative about finding work.
Imagine the scenario where there are two people, Bob and Gill, in the running for the job of Social Media Manager. Bob has all the right qualifications and all the right experience. Gill has the right qualifications but has little work experience. However, Gill is all over the internet talking about her passion which is social media, she is teaching other people how to use social media via videos, podcasts and tweets and her Facebook profile. Bob doesn’t really use Twitter all that much and has a MySpace profile and not a Facebook one, he likes to keep his private life private, which is okay. Who do you think is going to get the job?
Our social media profiles will soon be the first thing that employers look at when we are going for a job, I know I would be, despite the legal implications of this.
So when you are online creating your profile remember that whatever you say and do online there is a permanent record of it, so make what you’re saying useful.
The news is no longer going to be managed by big news companies it is going to be spread by the people who are on the scene with FlipCams and who are tweeting about it as it happens. Look at the recent Haiti disaster, as soon as the disaster struck there were thousands of messages sent via Facebook to friends and relatives all over the world. Haitians were tweeting about it and giving regular updates about buildings, people and the full scale of what was actually happening.
The news is no longer controlled and regulated, and everyone is a potential news breaker, we don’t have to rely on the big news channel to haul their vans and camera crew over to the scene when we have local people who are more than willing to report on the news as it happens.
This is real freedom of information.
With the advent of social networks more and more people are getting involved in politics. It’s now much easier to contact our local representatives, our MPs (UK), and people who have authority. The people we are contacting have no real place to hide, and social media has forced the hand of politicians, big companies, media personalities, and made them aware that if they are doing anything unscrupulous there is nowhere to hide anymore. They can’t buy off a newspaper, they can’t call in favors from friends. There is always someone willing to tweet it, put a photo on Facebook, blog it, video it, and put it out to thousands of eyeballs within a matter of minutes.
Look at the recent spell of bloggers and tweeters who are creating movements to help the people in Haiti by setting up donation ‘stations’ whereby someone can donate money to help the people in Haiti. This was organized within a matter of hours of the tragedy.
As Chris Guillebeau says we can plan ‘World Domination’ and it can be done through social media.
Starting a business
Never has it been so easy to start making money as it has online with a blog, a few affiliate products to promote and a whole tranch of social networking accounts. What’s more, if we are really honest, genuine and passionate about the product we will make even more money. We become ‘Trust Agents’ (Chris Brogan & Julian Smith), and the more trustworthy we are seen the more money we can make or the more people we can help.
Gary Vaynerchuk is one such person known as a ‘Trust Agent’, his story of taking his dad’s $4million dollar company, ‘Wine Library’ and taking it to $10million dollars using social media and setting up ‘Wine Library TV’ is inspirational. If you’ve ever seen Gary’s videos you’ll know him as passionate, knowledgeable, funny and most of all honest.
We can all start our own business online and if we can earn $100 a month online we can grow it to earn $1000 and then grow it more to earn $10,000.
Big companies are starting to realize the importance of social media for customer service and customer perception. Whenever you write about a company they have the potential to respond to your query, your complaints and general questions within a matter of minutes. Companies can set up Google alerts, tweet alerts, LinkedIn alerts whenever someone mentions their company name or chief exec.
An example I had myself was when I wrote a complaint, on my blog, about the length of time the communications giant BT were taking to fix my broadband issues. Within a matter of hours I noticed that my site had been linked to from their Intranet (internal website) and accessed over 50 times. I then received a phone call from someone within BT to apologies and to advise she would personally deal with all my BT problems and gave me a direct number (if you’ve ever tried calling them you’ll know how frustrating it can be).
Another great example of this is from a company called Nakedwines who received a complaint from a customer on their facebook page. The company responded immediately by calling the customer. The customer was still not happy and stayed online to complain further. NakedWines rep responded online by stating they would refund all the money the customer has ever spent with them and make sure their order was received. The disgruntled customer was finally forced to apologize once they had seen that they had done everything they could for him and close down his account. This was great PR as it was online, honest and everyone could see what the company had done for the customer. Had they not responded, and the conversation was one sided it could have gone horribly wrong for the company.
How we meet people
Imagine for a moment you are quite an introverted person, don’t like going out much, and have very few friends, through choice, but love being online, blogging and tweeting. Using social media sites are a fantastic way to meet like minded people. There’s only one drawback, a lot of your friends online stay hundreds or thousands of miles away. With Skype, video and social media in general you can now keep in touch easily and still remain your introverted self as you have the choice to be visible or not. Strangely enough social media will make media stars of the introverted.
We no longer have to go down to the job centre and look at little 5 x 4″ cards to search for the jobs we want, Twitter has it all, well not quite all yet but it’s coming. You can search for your ideal job on Twitter using hashtags or specific @ tags. Using the @ symbol is another way to look for jobs on twitter with accounts created specifically for this such as @microjobs @freelance_jobs @s1jobs_des_gla and there are lots more. If you want more information about job searching on Twitter here is a link Job Searching on Twitter.
Of course twitter is not the only platform. As we grow more connected sites like LinkedIn And Plaxo are becoming the place to meet your potential new employer or employee. It’s all about the conversation. Imagine you are a prospective employer looking for a great freelance writer. You friend someone you think might fit the bill, you look at the groups they have joined, you look at their conversations and you even talk to them yourself, very informal stuff. Only you are getting to know the person before they even know you want to hire them so they will be in their natural environment and not on their best behavior as they don’t know you are looking at them as a potential employee.
The music we listen to
The music industry has already been fundamentally changed with the internet and people downloading, legally and illegally, music from the net. However Social media be the savior for so many bands out there who were hoping for a record label contract: record labels are no longer required. You no longer have to court the big labels to make your mark on the world, the big labels have to court you once they see how talented you are.
People like Justin Bieber are being discovered all the time through channels like Youtube and Facebook and anybody can become part of the world of ‘America’s got talent’ or the -X-Factor’.
If you have talent, a video camera, a recording device you can make it big and you will get discovered or make it big on your own, but you still have to have the talent.
How we watch TV
The cable TV companies no longer have the control that they used to over what we watched. More and more people are discovering TV and films online. Most TV stations now have some form of media player showing their content online. I am in the UK and the BBC has a fantastic one called BBC iPlayer. Just the other night I missed a program I wanted to watch and wanted to watch it as I was twittering away, or catching up with my email. The program, for anyone interested is called The Virtual Revolution and is a must watch for anyone interested in how the internet has changed the world, one of the guest travelers is Sir Tim Berners Lee.
We are no longer controlled, we have choices now and gone are the days when there are TV schedules, we now make our own schedules. We can also make our own TV channels with the likes of UStream.tv anybody can have their own channel if they have the incline, the quality content, the knowledge and the guts to go live. One such person is Chris Pirillo, right now as I type, his site has 307 viewers and all we can see are his computer screens, he has it on 24/7 and every time he sits down to work people tune in, it’s amazing he has had over 14 million views to his channel.
Advertisers go where the eyes go and social media is changing the way big companies advertise. No longer do you need a budget of millions to compete with the big companies who advertise on TV, you just need lots of ‘friends’ , lots of people who trust you, lots of authenticity and you can create your own product launch and make it big.
Gary Veynerchuk recently relayed a story where he advertised free shipping codes for his wine on Radio, on a billboard, and a direct mailing campaign for a cost of $7,500, here is how it went:
- Billboard – 170 orders
- Radio – 240 orders
- Direct mail – 300+
What Gary then done is twittered his free shipping code over the space of 48 hours and received over 1,700 orders and all this was free.
We can’t afford to ignore social media as a force to be reckoned with, it is already here in our faces. If you want to start to take advantage of the wave don’t think it’s too late, it’s only the beginning and it’s exciting to watch.