Is social media really connecting us?

In the last five years, something truly amazing happened online: people started talking. On digital channels, that is. People have always been talking of course.

Websites popped up with the sole promise of connection, bringing people together through social profiles, chat-based applications, and providing almost every users out there with a PC or mobile device, internet connection, and time to spare the opportunity to connect with people from all over the globe.

The endless expansion of social media saw hundreds of websites and social networks created, each with a focus on a different type of connection. Some were interest-based, others were region-based, finally, a number of websites were designed without any focus on specialization, leading to the major social media platforms we know today. And let’s not forget how people started talking by creating their own websites: blogs.

But for all the talk that is now common online, how much actually brings us anywhere? What has occurred in social media is also a significant increase in noise, often at the expense of any signal.

Marketers clamour to get their message out there, using any tool available to them to spread their word further and further while drowning out their competition. In the end, social media ‘marketing’ all too often turns into a shouting match: those that scream the loudest, promote the hardest, and tweet most often quite regularly “win.”

In an ironic move, the same people that once touted social media’s ability to remove spam from the internet are now commenting on the platform’s unique ability to attract it. From hidden text links to worthless promotional efforts, a number of people simply have not grasped social media effectively. The shouting match strategy does work, but all too often at the expense of any real long-term potential.

However, there are social media marketers out there with an eye for long-term solutions and an appreciation of integrity. There are businesses out there (Nike, American Apparel, and Zappos, for instance) that see social media not as a soapbox or shouting platform, but as an opportunity to engage people, talk with them and ultimately have them market for them.

Social media marketing is a dedication game

There are marketers that realize social media is not a one-way signal, but a two-way platform for discussion and connection.

When the initial shock of unlimited conversation wears off, it seems that almost all social media marketers will invest in this strategy. Just like email attracted spammers in droves when it was first introduced, social media platforms attracted the worst of the “marketing” world when they first emerged as a popular option.

It’s a dedication game, and the brands, businesses, and individuals that are dedicated do see the end results they were looking for.

So has social media “connected” us? Just ask Zappos, American Apparel, Threadless, or any number of the hugely successful businesses invested in social media.

While you could find a cynic amongst the crowd, there are thousands of marketers out there for whom social media has been nothing but a success story.

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2 thoughts on “Is social media really connecting us?”

  1. Smart marketer have always known that real human beings are the ones receiving, sharing and engaging with the messages we send.
    In the 20th Century, we got very good at spreading a message farther.. the race was to get the biggest transmitter, or later, to dominate a niche. After a while, the price got so high that forcing a message on people got tougher.
    Meanwhile, we’ve learned to ignore interuption marketing and ads.
    The 21st Century approach will be to LISTEN.. 2 ways communication has got to the point where you can get feedback on a mass scale. It’s up to us to listen and love. (love here can mean something as little as “let them know you are listening” to “doing what you always knew was right by them”)
    Smart marketers will get past counting traffic and eyeballs.. and measure how well them interact
    Listen and Love.. it’s as simple as that

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