I’ve been working in search marketing for a few years now and although I understand the benefits that social media provides to companies; I even go out and train people in how to use social media to increase revenue/brand awareness, I’m not so sure I see the value on a personal level.
I have to admit to being a bit of a late starter with these things. I’m always the last to sign up to something – I like to wait and see if it’s just a phase or whether it will actually stick around before I give up hours of my time signing up and personalising my account. When I finish work or at the weekends I like to spend my time with real people, get some fresh air, see places, I don’t want to spend my time blogging (mostly because I don’t think I lead an exciting enough life to warrant writing about), sending people virtual presents or finding out what a complete stranger did that morning. But I’ve begun to notice how social media is completely changing the way we interact with one another, in good and bad ways, the old and the young – it seems there is no getting way from it, so maybe now is the time to dive in and give it a try.
Source: Flicker, Photo by Marcin Kempski
I was in Sainsburys last weekend and three women, probably in their late twenties, were having a loud and animated conversation in the middle of one of the aisles. One girl was angry because one of her friends was now no longer speaking to her because she hadn’t accepted her friend request from Facebook. So a real life friend..someone she actually saw and interacted with was now no longer her friend because she hadn’t had time to accept her as a virtual friend. And these weren’t impressionable young kids….these were grown ups who you’d think wouldn’t take this so seriously.
I have to admit that there was a point a year or so ago when I was pretty obsessed with Facebook. At first I thought it was a waste of time..then I slowly started using it and eventually got to the point where I was logging on several times a day (although saying that, the novelty wore off and now I rarely log in). I mostly used it to snoop into peoples lives without them knowing…looking at their pictures, reading their statuses, finding out what they had been up to without actually having to speak to them. I mean..there is a reason that you don’t stay in touch with people…. Then suddenly friends from primary school send you a friend request but never actually send you a message….surely they’re just doing the same thing? And I’m sure I only used about 10% of Facebook’s features. I never really understood sending someone a virtual plant, or the ‘poke’ feature – someone pokes you and you poke them back…now that’s just weird.
And now there’s Twitter. Again, something I thought was a complete waste of time a year or so ago, but now seems to have taken over the world – hey, it even caused Jenifer Anniston to break up with boyfriend musician John Mayor. It was reported in the press that Anniston dumped Mayor because he was apparently too busy to call or text her while she was away promoting her latest film, but he did manage to update his twitter status several times a day. And as a final slap in the face, he dealt with his break up by tweeting : ’this heart didn’t come with instructions’ . I should add that since the break up he has been reported as saying that Twitter is ‘silly and dumb’. Well he would, wouldn’t he.
So are we getting obsessed with our virtual life? Are some aspects of social media doing more harm than good? Are we just a bunch of nosy parkers who really should be doing something better with their time? Or are we getting something positive and valuable out of these hours spent in front of our computers? And do I just not understand it because I haven’t given it a chance?
So..for the month of April I am going to submerge myself in social media. You name it, I’ll do it. I’ll even tweet….about something or other….and may log into Facebook and poke someone I tried for years to lose touch with. And if it doesn’t get me hooked in 4 weeks (check back again at the beginning of May to see how I did) I guess I’ll just go back to being cynical and spending my time with real people…boring I know.