So called social media truly came of age over the last couple of years and even outstripped the internets number one use – smut.
I can’t go further without mentioning that internet shopping also became bigger than High Street shopping over the last 24 months – so, Web 2.0 succeeded.
However, most of us can remember the birth of Yahoo and MSNmessenger chat facilities and way back in 2000, it was the number one way of having a conversation from Saudi Arabia to the UK. You see, at £1.86 per minute on the phone, Messenger systems came into a world of there own.
Texting had already been around for a number of years by this time, having started in the mid to late 90’s.
Ironically, the likes of MSNmessenger and Yahoo were streets ahead in this field on the web, but then the price of technologies started to fall. Suddenly we could all make half decent videos on a mobile phone and bounce it straight up to YouTube.
With the advents and arrivals of Facebook, bebo, Flickr, Twitter and oh so many blog providers, the game changed considerably. You see, many of these services (in one form or another) were already being provided through the known mediums of MSN live messenger and Yahoo, but these great giants in the www. were too generalised and not specific enough. This gave way to people providing direct topical services and indeed, specializing in them – like WordPress with blogs etc.
Based on the fact that the basic human condition is that we are very much a social animal and also the ability to have ‘that’ voice in the world that they did not have previously, lead to global networks of new found friends. Just from blogging, twitter, and other sites I have earned money and gained friends around the world I simply did not have before – and lets be honest, I would have never have known these people otherwise.
We, in turn soon realise just how big the world truly is, we learn that no matter if people even if a look the same, or speak the same language – we are culturally very different. As such, a learning process starts to take shape, we develop, our perceptions change and slowly, a new way of thinking starts to creep in.
The effect of all this on the English language has been nothing short of astounding, not to mention the use of smileys and the constant shortening of words etc.
Then people use the systems to gain popularity and work. Just look at the amount of Actors, Musicians and other famous people use them.. Through twitter alone you can just about talk to anyone you’ve ever heard of. And while a few people have tried to run fake identities of famous people, twitter is now verifying people from the entertainment industry so that you get to know they are who they say they are.
Beyond typical fan adoration, these people also get down to earth feedback on what they do. They get into and remain in the public eye, and people with an interest in a persons work, get to know the latest news without the gossip of the Tabloid Press putting a slanted angle on it all. In fact, the daily newspapers are in real decline because of all this and in time they will sadly disappear altogether.
Sometimes though, it is obvious when someone in the entertainment industry either knows little about a) the internet b) the importance of there presence or c) what it says about them when they treat this media in an ad-hoc manner, because that never works at all. It actually goes along way to discredit them and this can be sad when a person is very talented.
These are powerful tools indeed, jobs are created and destroyed with the use of social media.
Now, I would give examples here of good and bad users of social media, but to be honest, I think this would be totally unfair and probably quite hurtful.
One thing is for sure, while it has changed the way we communicate and make friends – it is also changing the face of business.
Businesses that just come on and think they can sell any old thing or an insurance policy or an ‘enlightenment’ course are completely missing the plot. They are for the most part commercial exploitation within social media and simply not welcome! However, within industries like technology, law etc – these are huge areas with worthwile information sharing and in some case collaberation – these are very welcome.
We really are in a time of vast change, amazing change infact, yet it is happening so quickly we’re almost ignoring it. As a ‘for instance’; during the recent protests in Iran and the Israeli attack on Gaza some time ago, the internet and social media brought the reality of what was truly happening on the ground more accurately and quickly that any of the main stream media services like the BBC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN. We could in some cases see these things in real-time via streaming webcams.
So, we’re living in great times, the recession is effectively over, the world is getting back on it’s feet slowly and we are the people who are shaping the whole thing – because if you’re reading this (despite my terribly poor English), then indeed you’re part of it.