While there is no doubt that social media has played a large role in brand promotion, traffic building, reputation management and even relationship building, this medium has also begun to change the way that we make a difference in the world.
Even a decade ago, the world seemed a far larger place. Email, texts and the early form of blogs were the primary ways that people had to try and influence others. These channels were less than perfect too, with a limited reach that required extensive database development. Companies, individuals and non-profit organisations were limited to newsletters, word of mouth and traditional cold calling in order to promote brands, initiatives and news.
Fast forward to 2011, and social media has become more than a tool to connect online. Twitter, Facebook, You-tube and blogs have become a daily part of life, used by billions of people all over the world. Interestingly enough, as social media has helped the world get smaller; the world around us has also changed significantly. Revolutions across the Middle East, riots in London, football riots in Canada and this month, social change movements across the US, Europe and even Africa have all been indicators that people are finding their voice.
Social Change – Buzzword or Way of the Future?
Social change is the term used to summarise the need for real world change, using social media as a powerful tool to reach large numbers of people and mobilise them to make a difference. From social networking campaigns run by activist groups, to clean up squads organised online after riots, the web has given people the perfect platform to strive for change.
The most recent example of this is the Occupy Wall Street movement, which started out in New York’s financial district and soon grew into a global protest. Social media channels, especially Twitter, offered the perfect vehicle for a new generation of youth eager to have their voice be heard. Timelines gave interested parties details on current OWS events, while hashtags, photographs taken with smartphones, online petitions, official accounts and videos posted through You-tube allows the protest to be publicised across a far greater scale than traditional news channels.
Inspiring the Global Community through Social Media
Today’s youth market has far more resources than the previous generation. iPhones, BlackBerries, social media channels and a bigger reach have provided tools that can be used for good as well as mundane. Getting involved in charity work, awareness campaigns and other initiatives has become as simple as following the right people on Twitter and Facebook, retweeting information, posting links on Facebook, sharing a video on You-tube or sharing views on a blog.
In this way, social media has proved to be a far greater platform than many of us realised when we were first introduced to social network sites. The global community has never been more evident in today’s age of smartphones and integrated social channels, and as such, the potential for real world change may just be possible in the future of social media.
Author Bio: Alek Jones discusses a number of online marketing trends, offering a wealth of resources for businesses who are seeking the best from website design to search engine optimization and social media tips to help them improve their presence online.
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