Social Media is much more than fashion phenomena in our time. You may remember that Twitter in particular was an essential part of the Arab spring, and has been so in other social and political developments in these past few years.
Facebook has got millions of users around the world, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed. The new media is used in unbelievably
many ways so that it is almost impossible to differentiate between private, business, news or entertainment.
The psychological effect on our lives is significant for it has brought about a climate of openness that has appealed to the Baby Boomer generation especially, and some 96% of them have joined a social network.
In China ‘QZone’, the Chinese equivalent to Facebook, has over 300 millions using their services. In the USA 1 out of every 8 couples that married last year met via social media.
Surprising then that quite a few companies and organisations have missed the significance of such figures and as a result have failed quite miserably in the past few years.
The progress of Social Media has been staggering. It took the Radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, but only 13 years for TV, 4 years for the internet, and 3 years for the iPod. Facebook added 100 million users in less than nine months, and iPod application downloads hit 1 billion in the same time.
Another interesting statistic is that the fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55 to 65 year-old females, so not just the youths.
The combination of speed and size combined with a media which is as uncontrollable as it is unpredictable in its development, has brought us a strong channel of information, not just in the news area and in private use, but also as a business tool, for example for a company or an organization to keep an eye on what their customers are saying and act on all their customer enquiries and complaints before they become a problem, let alone a fully-fledged crisis.
Used in that manner Social media is about creating connections and the more connections made the greater is the openness created for new ideas and for positioning one to better handle problems arising. The decision-making as always ultimately rests with the individual.
Coming back to the opening question then, have you joined or are you planning to join, or do you feel that the Social Media it is not for you?
Like many in their Senior years you may chose to keep an eye on these media without actually contributing, just to keep up with the children/ grandchildren or friends who are already making good use of the interaction going on.
Then again you may like to first find out a bit more about how you go about joining and using Facebook or Twitter, if so SeniorNet Kapiti is planning a workshop just on this, hopefully, next term. Put your name down now to be sure of being kept informed of dates and times by sending us an e-mail or giving us a ring; You can also use the contact form, whichever you prefer. We look forward to hearing from you.