Finally, people are beginning to realize that social media is no longer optional.
Social media has become:
- as necessary as email,
- as informative as a website, and
- as connective as a cell phone.
There are many reasons people get involved in social media, but for those still hesitant to join the bandwagon, here are 5 simple reasons to integrate social media into your daily activities.
Reason 1: Everyone is doing it. Well, not EVERYone. But a recent Pew Research Center study says that 65% of online adults use social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. That's about half of all U.S. adults! And it's not your college student's facebook anymore - according to a Pew Internet study in August 2010, half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64 and one-in-four (26%) users ages 65 and older now use social networking sites. Finally, if you aren't present in social media, you are absent - meaning that your expertise and your voice aren't contributing to the ongoing conversation about the issues and people you care about.
Reason 2: Immediate news and information. In his Dot Earth post "The No(w)sphere" New York Times columnist Andrew Revkin introduced me to the term "noosphere" - the "sphere of human thought." I have followed and participated in many a workshop, seminar and conference via social media - enriching my notes and comments. And ayone who experienced the recent 5.8 earthquake in DC knows that the earthquake quickly dominated social media immediately after the ground shook.
Reason 3: Tools for social change. In the 2008 elections in the United States, Barack Obama's team leveraged social media to build community then provided online resources so community members could take action. In 2011, social media is identified as a major organizing tool supporting the Arab spring.
Reason 4: Tools to build knowledge for innovation. You can learn a lot about people by what they post. You can learn a lot more about the issues you care about by listening to what others are saying and sharing on that topic. Together, this is what makes up your community - and the more focused you are on listening and engaging with your community, the more knowledgeable everyone becomes. Common knowledge shared helps lead people to play with ideas and explore ways to innovate.
Reason 5: Many flavors and sizes. Not everyone has to jump wholeheartedly into social media with the enthusiasm of a dachshund in a dog food factory. Want to track the latest news? Use Twitter to follow key news sources (both people and organizations). Want to connect with colleagues? Use LinkedIn to highlight your professional experience and topic expertise and to connect with coworkers and partners. Want to develop existing friendships (personal and professional)? Use Facebook to share day-to-day news about what you are interested in and what is going on in your life. And, of course, take time to listen.
What are your 5 simple reasons?