Thus far into this new era, we’ve followed a clear-cut approach: we’ve set to be as connected as possible, all the time. For most of us, this was not a conscious decision. We did it without really thinking about it, not realizing there was any choice in the matter.
(William Powers, Hamlet’s Blackberry)
If look from the business prospective, the need for social media in building brand awareness as a crucial tool in tactics is unarguable, mainly because days, when the customers relied on one media type to consume information are gone. The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day and just 7% get their news from a single media platform; in 2010—fully 85% of all American adults now own a mobile phone. We are going to see even more — the rise of the social commerce which build the customer’s loyalty. Use of the new technologies, including mobile apps, geo-location shopping, social couponing, even social gaming on SM platforms will become just a regular routine, let’s say by 2012. Geo-location services such as Facebook Places and Shopkick will promote check-ins, accordingly attempting to bring online communities to real life. AdAge predicts that “share of voice, point of view and community influence will be more important than brand ownership — and marketers will need to get over it if they want to stay relevant in 2012.” Governments and non-governmental organizations will re-develop their public awareness plans prioritizing social media use in reaching their objectives, let it be domestic or foreign policy awareness, disaster response or fighting 20th-century diseases that still need 21st-century research.
When all optimistic “dreamy and delightful and sugar and spice” are said, I momentarily recall the photo on Michael Yon’ The Moment of Truth in Iraq cover vs. Anwar al-Awlaki on YouTube. I remember Andrew Olsted’s “last post” published in the event of his death by his friend as described by Scott Rosenberg. And many other dozens of inspirational and discouraging case studies.
The most precise description is by Yochai Benkler in The Wealth of Networks: “We are seeing two effects: first, and most robustly, we see a thickening of preexisting relations with friends, family, and neighbors, particularly with those who were not easily reachable in the pre-Internet-mediated environment….However, this thickening of contacts seems to occur alongside a loosening of the hierarchical aspects of these relationships, as individuals weave their own web of supporting peer relations into the fabric of what might otherwise be stifling familial relationships. Second, we are beginning to see the emergence of greater scope for limited-purpose, loose relationships.”
Definitely, none of those are persuasive enough for me to erase the existing profiles or to develop the social media plan for raising people’s awareness about me. One of the main things I got from the class is the bigger picture of networks’ wealth and how selectively it can be used to reach either work or personal goals. I am sure, I will keep all of my Facebook, Twitter and WordPress accounts running for the next months; at the same time, what I will try to do is go offline and live. Enjoy family, real people and places. It is hard though when you have papers due every day. But I (again) quote a totally unrelated movie Unfaithful as saying: “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”