Facebook is 10 years old this month and Twitter will celebrate its eighth birthday in March. Given the degree to which social media has permeated our collective existence over the last decade the lines between communication online and “IRL” – in real life – are becoming ever more blurred.
The frequency and intensity with which we reach out to family, friends, and business colleagues is certainly real enough. Moreover, the new social media has given us the power to create, communicate, and collaborate; to build communities of interest and share all kinds of thoughts and actions, in real time – in real life – across the globe.
Caption: Erik Qualman shares some interesting figures about the social media revolution
According to eMarketer’s report, over 70% of all Internet users worldwide will visit a social networking site in 2014. But in the 10 years of Facebook’s existence, social media has changed many times. While Facebook is still deemed the world’s largest social networking service (SNS) with over a billion registered users (Twitter comes second with 500 million users), our social media activity is constantly fragmenting.
Specialized sites are cropping up to cater to specific requirements according to geographical location (China’s QQ, Google Brazil’s Orkut) or profession (LinkedIn, Stage32).
Particularly remarkable are the sites geared towards specific age groups, such as Snapchat, GromSocial, and Weheartit. These are gaining ground as teenagers in the UK and US abandon Facebook in despair at being compelled to be “friends” with older relatives.
Social media “fails”
The effect of integrating social media platforms into the corporate workspace cannot be overlooked either. While some businesses have declared themselves “social media-free zones” due to a perception of decreased productivity, others have woven social networking into the fabric of the workplace. Staff are encouraged to bring their smart devices to work, and platforms such as Microsoft’s Yammer and Salesforce have gone some way to pushing intra-corporate social networking into the mainstream.
However, in the absence of clear company policy, a schizophrenic approach to social media can lead to mistakes like these…
And when a company – particularly of the larger, long-established kind – doesn’t understand the essence of social media, you get things like J. P. Morgan’s famously unfortunate misuse of Twitter, the corporate equivalent of “Dad at the disco.”
For music, corporate conference coverage, “how to” clips, and cat videos, Google’s YouTube still rules the international roost, against the likes of France’s Daily Motion or Vimeo for the serious filmmaker.
But despite Orkut’s success in Brazil and India, Google has been scrambling to produce a service to rival Facebook since the latter’s inception. After two failed attempts, it finally launched Google+ in 2011.
According to research by ExactTarget, more companies intend to use Google+ in 2014 than any other social media channel. Why? Because Google+ harnesses the Internet giant’s search capability, giving a much higher profile to any content generated on the social media platform – exponentially increasing the opportunities for content marketing.
Which social media will be on your radar in 2014?