The Challenges of Social Media

This week I have chosen to blog about the challenges of social media. This topic interests me because although I was born into a generation that uses Web 2.0 constantly, I am still behind on technology trends. Until last month, blogging was a foreign concept and I have just figured out how to use my Twitter account (….I’ve had it for 2 years)! To shed some light on social media, I recently read chapters 1 and 2 of Groundswell as well as an article which discusses the challenges and opportunities of Social Media. This article is entitled Users of the world, unite, by Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Heinlein. It provides information and statistics to show just how much we rely on the internet now. “According to Forrester Research, 75% of Internet surfers used ‘‘Social Media’’ in the second quarter of 2008… this represents a significant rise from 56% in 2007”( Kaplan, Heinlein, 2009). Although these stats are old, I can only imagine how much they have risen in the last four years. In addition, it was found that the growth was “not limited to teenagers, either; members of Generation X, now 35—44 years old, increasingly populate the ranks of joiners, spectators, and critics. It is therefore reasonable to say that Social Media represent a revolutionary new trend that should be of interest to companies operating in online space–—or any space, for that matter.” (Kaplan, Heinlein, 2009). After reading this, all I could do was think to myself…. if my mom can do it…. so can I!!

Going forward I have realised that I did not take an interest in social media before, because I did not fully understand its benefits. This could be comparable to many companies who are behind on adopting new technology. I previously worked for the Public Relations department of the Federal Government. I noticed that they were unable to transition into social media effectively at first and are still struggling. This was because there were a number of liabilities, surrounding the question of “professionalism” and lack of control. As a result it was monitored for information, but not used consistently to provide content. Personally I think this is a shame because using it would give them access to so many young users through sites like Facebook, Twitter or even cell phone apps. After reading this article, I think the opportunities outweigh the challenges and Web 2.0 will continue to be a part of our personal and work lives.

Until next blog…

k

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