The Social Media Imperative
Social Media (whose initials prior to its inception stood for something else entirely) is not without its share of pain, sweat and pleasing outcomes. By now there is hardly anyone on the web who has not got some idea of what social media stands for. Whether you’re sharing your status updates on Facebook, engaging strangers who share your passions on Google+, describing your lunch on Twitter or trawling for business contacts on LinkedIn you’re active on a social media platform of some kind. You’re not alone.
Billions of us are engaged, and the ever growing numbers of social media addiction is something no business can ignore. The result is that businesses in 2012 spent $4.5 billion on advertising in social media channels hoping to attract our attention and increase their sales.
In all this melee, businesses rush to establish a Facebook page and a Twitter account, waving their dollars at social media platform advertising while consumers hop from one social media platform to another, presenting an ever shifting form of online identity, no one really pauses long enough to ask the obvious question: Why?
Why do we rush headlong, like lemmings, to join social media platforms and connect with people across the globe? Why do businesses rush to follow us, waving their placards and advertising banners? Why are the channels fighting for our attention shifting to a social medium? Why are we talking about businesses needing to transition to a social business model?All this time, cost, energy and effort have to come from a place other than a personal desire to share a few boozy photos of last year’s Christmas party, or a corporate notion that the next phase of change has to include a social component. In a study commissioned by the UK government on social media and identity, Associate Professor of Michigan State University, Nicole Ellison, stated that social media interaction ”…includes the ability to engage in selective self-presentation when presenting identity, the ability to enact multiple identities in online settings simultaneously.” This is a strong indication of one of the vector forces driving adoption in this direction.Continued on the next page