The internet is a big place and since it’s so big, it can be an overwhelming place to spend your time. Now more than even ever, we need to apply critical thinking towards social media. There is a minefield of media misinformation, opinions, and negativity. Apps such as Facebook and Twitter have become a hotspot for aggression and bad behaviour.
Let us go back in time for a moment. Think back to when social media was in its early phases. Everyone joined in because it was a new thing that seemed interesting and possibly useful. The public tooled around with social media without really understanding where it was going, what it was initially created for, and how our online footprint can last forever. Everyone was doing it so we all joined in too.
Media literacy was not taught in the early days of social media. We learned by trial and error or by those who claimed to be online marketing gurus. They knew as much as we did in those early days. Marketing social media became the new self-help trend. A lot of it was pointless and overrated. Companies spent an enormous amount of money to get that marketing edge only to find out that it takes time to build. There is no magic formula that did it all. Those who did well in the early days had the “already famous” upper hand. The rest of us had to start at square one.
We are now entering a crossroads with social media. We now recognize that it takes up a lot of our time. It cannot replace human contact or business networking. We still need to connect on a human level. Due to certain events, we are now taking a hard look at the platforms we spend a lot of time on. Our new media literacy includes understanding and recognizing fake news, how algorithms work, and scrutinizing what we read online.
We are looking for balance.
It is good to step away from social media from time to time. It is also good to question what we are reading and seeing. It is good to research the sources from which this information comes.
But wait, there is an upside.
Social media has a lot of good points too. Let’s break it down:
As a collective whole, we helped make the world seem smaller. We can share ideas, pictures, information, and video on various platforms. This sharing can be private or public or shared amongst a small online group.
Learning, education, and research-
We can google anything at any time from news, tips and events. Education does not need to be in the classroom. Suddenly learning can be an activity at home at any time and at our own pace. It’s wide open and very assessable.
Interacting and networking
Social media is an interactive exercise. It breaks down time and distance barriers. In the early days, it connected family and friends. Now it connects everyone including customers, clients and your boss. Not all meetings need to be in the office with the help of Zoom and Skype. You can also share news, services and products at any time of the day. Business is now a 24/7 thing even if your physical business closed at 9:00 pm.
Marketing and promoting
Promoting your business online can help elevate your goals faster than traditional paper-based self-promotion. Social media can allow you to interact with your audience and get feedback like ever before. You can interact with pictures, articles, video and memes.
When posting online it is good to follow the four K’s:
- Know your audience
- Know yourself
- Know what platforms you are using
- Know why you are using them
There are many types of social media to use and learn about while building a community. The GDC Group can help!