At a recent Yell conference for small businesses and online advertising, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely hypnotherapist/life coach who had the following to say about social media:
When I first started working, we didn’t even have telephones. We had to go outside, walk a couple miles up the road and spend four pence just to make a phone call. Someone had to connect the call. Now there is Facebook and all this social media. You don’t even need to go outside.
I don’t really understand where to begin or what I’m supposed to do with it all. What’s it all about?*
Well sir, I have to say, you are not alone in feeling this way! Any honest person will tell you that these new forms of interacting can seem intimidating, especially at the start.
Countless social media sites exist — we tend to hear only of the biggest dogs. And as soon as you get your mind round one of them, a new update is rolled out. You have to work hard to keep up with changes in privacy policies, site designs, etc.
My goodness, you must think, when will the world just give itself a moment to breathe!
Fair play to those of you who suspect that social media is a bit of a bandwagon jump. It can surely seem that way. But the thing to realise is that community is at the heart of social media. Social media would be just a fad if it did not bring people together. But it does.
In the same way that MySpace lost ground to the current favourite Facebook, you will see many ebbs and flows in social media over the course of your lifetime. But the fabric of what makes a social media site successful is unlikely to change drastically: It must bring people together in an organic way. Good social media gives people the tools to easily produce and share content, such as photos, ideas and memories.
To my friend the life coach, I would say this: You may not need to leave the home to use social media. But just like every phone call you have ever made, what matters in social media is the way that you talk with people, how you listen to them and what you do with what you learn.
*Disclaimer: I cannot quite remember how much the calls cost, or just how far this fellow walked, but the contrast to today’s world is nonetheless quite amazing!