Social Media – the final frontier? Recently, I’ve read several articles addressing the impact that social media channels are having on our lives, relationships, and professions. On one side, I’ve heard that the whirlwind of social media is preventing us from fostering and nurturing real-life connections. From others, I hear that it is absolutely necessary to promote your name as much as possible into the ether or else you won’t find a job. Surely, there must be a happy medium.
Quite frankly, I don’t get the hype. I think the rapid evolution of communications is absolutely fascinating. I also think it’s incredibly important to stay atop of these changes if you wish to be a part of the communications industry. What I don’t understand, are the two extreme takes on this (sort of) new phase in the way we connect.
To those who seem shocked or overwhelmed with interactive media – catch up. Are we really that surprised that communication is changing? Language evolves, cultures evolve, it’s only natural that they way we relate to one another is too. I was not one of the first members of Twitter, but I caught on, got used to it, and found my own way to contribute.
Now, to those who think social media platforms will save the world – they won’t. They will change the world, but only in many small and individual ways.
One article on Social Media Today summarizes the debate pretty well by presenting two arguments on whether or not social media should be a required skill for PR professionals. The first author, Kasey, thinks social media is great for some, but isn’t right for others and shouldn’t be touted as a necessity. Rachel, the responder, seems to think that is the point. Interactive media channels are not right for every audience or every business, and that’s why professionals need to understand them.
So in sum, know your stuff. If you would rather not update your whereabouts on Gowalla, that’s a choice. But you better understand how it works and why others may want to utilize it. If you would rather not maintain a personal blog, feel free, but learn how blogosphere communities work. But … what’s a better way to learn, than to do?