Social Media is a Human Tool, not just another Techno Bubble…
At the beginning, there was that massive information influx from true-gurus, neo-gurus, pseudo-gurus, fake-gurus and from Mr. and Mrs. Anybody about Social Media. It reminded of some ill-famous bubble that was inflating so fast, that only a very few could predict its burst and resulting spills. If one can recall, the dot com bubble started just like that; a buzz about prefix-investing. One just had to add e. at the beginning of his company name or .com at the end of it, to pretend to be the next big brand around, driving all sorts of investors to the cliff edge like a bunch of silly sheep. At least, this episode allowed us to see the start and end of a “boom and burst cycle” live, in one actual lifetime. But did we retain our lessons well?
Technology is the extension of our intentions.
Kimberly King – Social entrepreneur and whole-systems change agent.
From all that we heard from the SM buzz then, Monetization seemed to be the bottom line. As we stand today, those forcefully driving these ideas around were, to my point of view, all wrong.
Point is that Social Media, which really came to life with the advent of Web 2.0, belongs to real people, with real needs and real quests. Promising online profits and banking on it, is pure utopia. The real thing is about transforming promises made on the Internet, into concrete stuff in the real world; like an online dating that transforms into a married couple or a blogger who manages to sell his books in real bookstores, or an hotel which sees more customers in its beds and rooms after building a Facebook fan page, or, at our level, turning a Global cause into real concrete reflection opportunities for the People around real tables. This is the real bottom line!
Social Media Visionaries had it right!
The Web is a global showcase with each and everyone exhibiting his products, skills, ideologies and soul states. It helps enhancing global awareness, selling ideas, consolidating brand perception but today the Social Media factor has turned into a gigantic open marketplace where chitchats become the prime reference. This is what Zuckerberg understands and sticks to (I guess). And for that, he is to be hailed and congratulated.
He is, by far, the one who more than anybody understood that money comes along naturally with a neat, true and caring service and not the other way round. By refusing to go along with an IPO in 2010 and postponing it into 2012, he showed his total commitment to making Facebook a better and safer place to interact and not just an application with the obligation of yielding profits to shareholders (even if it is a prime objective for a private company).
When it makes sense, right. I mean, what we’re most focused on is just building these tools that help people stay connected with the people that they care about. And at some point along the path, I think it’ll make sense to have an I.P.O. But we’re not running the company to do that. We’re running the company to serve more people.
Going the opposite way would result into the same schematic we saw between 1999 and 2001. It’s all about life philosophy.
Another great example would be Sabeer Bathia, the inventor of Hotmail, whose main objective was to offer a free social service to the widest base. Until today this talented man’s commitment to better social interaction can be felt in his endeavor at getting Internet into most Indian homes and in his bold Sabsebolo (let’s talk to everyone) free conference service website. This is REAL virtual socializing!
These two successful personalities, built their wealth out of building free social tools. Can you believe it? I do.
My Bottom Line
Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT ABOUT…
- Making money, it is about helping the most of us make choices amidst an endless universe of products and opportunities.
- Expert advertising plans, as we already know that more than 75% of us do not trust adverts.
- Building costly brands and wait for customers to naturally come to them. Nowadays we prefer those simple brands which come to us with simple promises they can handle.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT JUST…
- Offering timely, short term solutions,
- Organizing games and prize giveaways,
- Talking loud and imposing views and thoughts.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS ABOUT…
- Communicating in civilized manner with the help of technology to the widest possible range of people.
- Nurturing one’s credibility and sociability.
- Understanding peoples’ needs and informing them of the best options available.
- Building interactive platforms and applications that motivate natural public expressions.
- Using one’s intelligence to federate and not divide.
Nowadays, less is the need for a dedicated seller if a community of followers can be turned into prospects by the simple actions of a listening and caring Community Manager. And for that, one doesn’t need high certifications. He only needs gutts, modesty and be a good communicator. In fact Social Media has completely changed the way to do business. It is humanizing it, bringing more and more power to the consumers, to the people and making the brand/ ideology-customer relationship less technical.
So it might be the right time to stop looking at the cashpile first (it will grow naturally if we just nurture relationships) and start looking at making interaction better off. As long as real people stay in control, the bubble burst won’t come. This will only happen when money becomes the centre of the Social Media concern.
So YES! Social Media is about being social and not speculative!
Note from the author:
I first wrote this article for socialmedia-mauritius.com in April 2010. I only adjusted the tenses and context here so as to show its relevancy even in 2012. The discussion about using Social Media as a human driven discipline is more than ever today’s reality. I have always believed that Social Media should have a human finality that could impact on the betterment of communities. The One Future One Planet project with its Eco Living Challenge, officially launched on June 24th, 2012, make me feel that we are getting there, with Mauritius taking the lead, in this way of thinking.
- Brands Start Automating Social Media Responses On Facebook And Twitter (techcrunch.com)
- My Impressions on the First Social Media & e-Business World Congress Held in Greece. (mobileriam.wordpress.com)
- Six Considerations When Creating a Social Media Policy | PlusOne #co-creation (serve4impact.com)
- Passion for technology is a priority but what is most important is being yourself! (mobileriam.wordpress.com)