Happy Social Media Day! Thank you, social media.

Today is officially Social Media Day! A day in which we celebrate the revolution of media becoming social. I think we all can agree, the advent of these social technologies, has changed the way we communicate. Both in our personal lives and for businesses, there’s lots to “thank” social media for.

[using my loud voice] HEY THANKS SOCIAL MEDIA!

A day like today, is a perfect time to step-back and think about why these tools are useful? Why have they changed the way we communicate?

These tools facilitate the notion of what is called, ambient intimacy. Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible. The advent of the internet, laptops and mobile phones with internet access make it even easier for us to “plug-in” to consume this information and use the social media tools. For example, on a daily basis:

  • Facebook helps me see what my friends are thinking, doing, projects they’re working on and what they did this weekend.
  • Twitter tells me what websites to check out and the opinions people have about news and current events.
  • Flickr lets me see the latest family photos or pics from a recent trip. And it also shows me their latest haircut.
  • YouTube makes me laugh, get inspired, or want to take action just by watching snippets and consuming quick- bite sized videos.
  • Friendfeed tells me their activity stream of my friends online, what they’re looking at, and what they’re reading.

What does social media help us do? @leisa summarizes it well; It helps us get to know people who would otherwise be just acquaintances. It makes us feel closer to people we care for but in whose lives we’re not able to participate as closely as we’d like. Knowing these details creates intimacy (It also saves a lot of time when you finally do get to catch-up with these people in real life!).

Personal Life
When people have asked the ways social media has helped me personally- I point out that social media has the potential to significantly augment (not destroy or lessen) existing relationships you have with friends and family. However, like anything else- moderation is key, and you must understand how to integrate it appropriately. Once you do, it’s powerful stuff.

Businesses and Companies
For businesses, many are realizing there’s more than just a direct sale that can occur through the channels of social media. The path or continuum leading up to a sale, has many reassurance points along the way. Utilizing social media tools to serve as touchpoints on this path to the sale, that are non-commercial, is an effective way to accomplish things like trust, loyalty, awareness and building a relationship.

So take a moment today to say “thanks, social media”. These technologies can enhance peoples behavior for the better. How has it helped you? Share with me any success stories you have in using it. What do you like best about social media?

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