What becomes apparent to me as I listen to the wholly subjective and largely uninformed takes on social media that some people have is the horrid nature of social media ego. The competition of who knows the most, who does the most, who has the most stats (I note with cruel glee that my Klout score is often higher than others, for all their guru knowledge), and the fuel of misinformation guiding these devout believers that what they were doing is the right way, the only way, the truth. It’s creepy and makes me glad I only really do social media for the fun and genuine engagement and exchange with like minded people.
I have never been a believer in the stats-hunting-media-savvy-social-network-expert who believes all those views on Slideshare actually equate to real people who care about your presentations, or those massive numbers of Twitter followers which mean you are being heard by a lot of people. That’s just guff, not true, doesn’t work that way at all. Oh, I just made a social media ego statement. Oops.
Another (dangerous?) piece of misinformation is the belief that no one needs a website these days, which is entirely false, in my opinion, as we all need a base from which to share our lovely/interesting/relevant content. You cannot do that very well most of the time just using the social platforms. They are there to share our content, not always to host it, though of course there are exceptions to this (for example Instagram photos, some types of Pinterest boards or collections of YouTube videos etc). Most businesses need websites, to anchor their web footprint. This only gets truer as a business gets bigger, so why not start early and help teach the internet ‘Search Bots’ where you are, and what you do? They cannot only learn that from your social media. You need (responsive) webpages to host your ‘call to action’ campaigns, you need websites to map your internet ‘location’. None of that can really be done effectively with only social media, but social media helps so much to alert others to who you are, what you do or what you’re interested in, to help others to connect with you and mutually share and benefit from that experience. The statistics are often irrelevant, the conversation is what’s most useful to everyone.
A good way to illustrate all this happened to me when I wanted to set up my internet and phone in my new place in Europe. I visited the local IP/phone providers websites to find out their cost, deals and packages. I used their web forms to lodge my interest but I also visited their Facebook Pages and posted comments to ask questions and make contact. In both companies cases, this loop of digital pathway behaviour worked well, and I got what I needed very quickly, response times were fast and everything was very easy. The existence of the social media speeds up communication, but more formal communication for personal details etc is also necessary.
As time goes on I expect all these self appointed social media gurus and mini-media dictators will fade away as we all just get on with the day-to-day business of communicating with each other. And as social media as well as websites map the web ever more smartly, our time spent finding things we need will decrease and our time spent enjoying or using the things we need will increase. Roll on that day.