Friday, October 30, 2009

Social Media Is Not About Technology

"Social Media is not about technology". Those words were spoken during a session at the Social Media Business Forum last week. As one who makes a living playing with technology, I was curious to find out the true definition.

According to many of the speakers, social media is really about PEOPLE. Yes, you read that correctly. Social media is about connecting with others. Technology is not the end, but rather a tool used to connect people with one another.

Think about it. Email, Twitter, Facebook, and IM are simply applications used to share thoughts, ideas, experiences, and stories with someone else. Without a receiver, an email would be pointless.

While eating lunch today, a friend and I took time to update each other on our latest endeavors. We spoke about our jobs, Twitter, food, family, and friends. The hour or so together allowed the two of us to grow closer and explore our deeper connections. Instead of spending an hour on small talk, we began to look under the hood to find something meaningful.

This friendship began online but continues to blossom offline. As a result, we are able to use technology to keep in touch when meeting in person is not an option. To me, that is one example of value found through the use of social media.

In business, social media can be used to strengthen ties between a company and its customers. Similar to friendships between people, technology can empower organizations to better understand the needs and wants of its clients. In addition, technology can help display a softer side for many companies.

Therefore, remember that we are all people with feelings, wants, and needs. While this is hard to say, worry less about the latest technology buzz and focus on the people in your life. When practiced, your online experience will be much more fulfilling.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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