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Social Media is a Passing Fad

I know some really smart people who refuse to get on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Sometimes, they cite paranoid-sounding privacy concerns. Other times, they say “social media is a passing fad,” or that social media somehow isn’t relevant to them, or that social media is a waste of time. I don’t think they realize that, almost overnight, social media has become as mainstream as cell phones and horseless carriages. These Luddites need to open their eyes and take stock of the new tools at their disposal. Maybe this video will open some eyes.

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  1. For Luddites of all ages and, in particular, reluctant Gen X and Baby Boomers, this blog post by Mike Schaffner gives a nice explanation of how social media could assist basic needs in the corporate world:
    http://mikeschaffner.typepad.com/michael_schaffner/2008/07/why-companies-n.html

    Some tips from Mike:
    “* RSS can be used to push order-status information directly to a customer’s company intranet.
    “* Have employees use a MySpace or Facebook-type site to introduce themselves to the company. These can also be a resource to help employees find a potential car-pool mate, someone with a background in product design or specific experience on a product you are thinking about launching.
    “* Twitter and FriendFeed as communication and collaboration tools. Imagine someone putting out a Twitter message (a “tweet”) that says, “I’m updating the marketing plan, does anyone have any info on X?” rather than sending out an e-mail that gets lost in everyone’s inbox…
    “* Instant Messaging for quick conversations that don’t get buried in the inbox or use up valuable storage space on the e-mail server…
    “* Wikis and blogs can be used for training and collaboration on large projects.
    “* YouTube-style videos can be used for training or distributing important messages, such as the CEO announcing a new product launch or Joe, the IT help desk guy, receiving an award.”

  2. Great summary of the emerging importance of social media. People will only be able to argue its relevance and staying power for so long. Clara Shih in her book The Facebook Era likened it to a technological revolution on par with mainframe computers, PCs, the Internet – and now social media.

    Seth Godin in his book Unleashing The ideavirus has a nice chart which summarized the time to reach 50 million users with exception to social media – I’m glad to see the Facebook stat in this video – definitely helps put things in perspective!

  3. Social media are certainly not a passing fad, but the You Tube video uses an overly expansive definition of social media, which encompasses all forms of user-generated content, including blogs. There is a huge qualitative difference between, say, Paul Krugman’s blog and Wikipedia on the one hand, and Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter on the other.

    Nowadays you can post comments on almost any article you read on the online versions of major newspapers, but that doesn’t turn these into social media, which I would define as something that creates virtual communities of shared interests. I use and enjoy Facebook, which has helped me reconnect with friends from college days, and I use LinkedIn on occasion for business purposes, and I think there is something powerful and useful in both those models. I often use Wikipedia as a reference (though rarely the final word) on certain topics, but I am not part of the tiny minority who contribute content to the site.

    Of course, I am an aging Baby Boomer, so what do I know? Instead I leave the judgment to my teenage daughter Isabel, who told me “Twitter is useless B.S.” Never mind that Twitter has yet to figure out how to make money, Ashton Kutcher’s and Ellen DeGeneres’s millions of followers prove nothing but that there are an awful lot of pathetic losers out there who have to live vicariously through the twitterings of B-list celebrities.

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