Does Social Media Have Borders?

Lately, in my spare time (It does happen from time to time.) I’ve been thinking about how social media has evolved over the years and all the options that we now have available to us. 

What got me started was an article I’d read that a quarter of the world’s population is now on Facebook and 80% of the US population is on it as well.

Which got me thinking about all the other social media and near-social media channels out there.

(And, there are a lot of them!)

The world is really starting to go online, if it hasn’t done so entirely already.

Let’s talk about that!

Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, there were only a handful of social media channels with limited functionality and they could only be accessed through a desktop or laptop PC.

Oh, and there was very little, if any, cross-functionality.

Well, a lot has changed since then.

More channels with increased functionality, the channels interact with one another, and a boatload of what I call near-social media channels have appeared.

Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention the invention of mobile devices like tablets and smart phones which allowed us to cut the cord and get out and about into the real world with our social media. 

Back in the day, social media was easily identifiable, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter were obvious.

Not all made the cut, remember MySpace and Google+?

Now, not so easy.

Online shopping apps, dating apps, and virtual worlds like Second Life , to name but a few, are blurring the boundaries of what is social media.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It just means that way more of us are online interacting in a “socially media” way than we actually thought there are.

Two hundred or so years ago when the Industrial Revolution started, no one sat around saying, at least not for a few years, “Hey, we’re having the Industrial Revolution!  What do you think is going to happen next?”

History’s been fairly quiet in terms of epochal revolutions since then.

Yes, there was the over-hyped Atomic Age which really came to naught.

(I lost interest when they said we’d never have atomic powered cars or planes.  Why does the Navy get to have all the fun?)

But, whatever we’re calling this age were living through now (The Information Age?), some of us are sitting around and asking “What’s going to happen next?”

Yes, the invention of the airplane made the world a smaller place.

But, you could only take advantage of that if you could afford to own your own plane or the price of a ticket on a 747.

And, don’t get me started on what’s involved in trying to cross international borders even legally!

The Internet and the social media built on it has blown all those barriers to entry away.

Yes, nation states may try to restrict access to either it or its applications but the jury’s still out on whether they can succeed.

(Even North Korea is having trouble here!)

So, you may ask me what’s my point?

My point is that we’re all rubbing elbows across across social media and its environs.

Where twenty years ago, social media barely had a mention on the evening news, now, it’s hard to watch the news without it being mentioned.

The US Congress is holding hearings to investigate it.

Social media is being accused of all sorts of social ills which is ironic given how in its early days, social media was supposed to bring us together and make us one, big, happy family.

(Talk about the law of unintended consequences!)

Where does all this lead?

Right now, I’m not sure.

What I do know is that for businesses, social media is the place to be because for better or worse, that’s where their customers (and their money) are going to be!

That’s it for now!

Please check out my 8 step approach for developing a social media program for more ideas on how to use social media.

Also, never forget to reach out to either ask questions or to ask for help from someone like myself! In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog.

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.

And, remember!

I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

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