The writing’s on the (Facebook) wall

On the internet, “tweeting” isn’t for the birds. Writing on someone’s “wall” doesn’t mean graffiti. “Poking” isn’t a flirting tactic for six-year-olds. Social media is so ingrained in today’s society that such terms take on a whole new meaning.

According to Brian Solis, social media has become “part of our cultural fabric”. And the numbers don’t lie. Social media and blogging accounts for nearly 25% of Americans’ internet use. Skeptics risk becoming laggards if they don’t hop onto to the social media wave. (Mom, Dad, I’m talking to you.)

Never far behind, businesses are now wielding social media as a tool to communicate and promote to audiences. In the past year or so, I’ve noticed a company’s Facebook page appearing at the end of commercials, in place of a website address. Why wouldn’t they? That’s where their entire audience is hanging out, communicating, and influencing each other. With 800 million users, Facebook is now the size of the entire internet in 2004. If that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. Way to go Zuckerberg.

When it comes to business, social media just makes things feel a bit more… real. Whereas consumers might not visit a business’s website to avoid feeling brainwashed by blatant promotion, a company’s Facebook is a bit more inviting. Here, you might get a more genuine sense of the brand: how they are interacting with consumers, and how consumers respond. Starbucks’ Facebook page shows it has 25,758,716 “likes”. How’s that for one hell of a testimonial?

Social media creates a kind of “open door policy” between consumers and businesses. A company’s Facebook page allows real people’s words (good or bad) to be attributed to their business. I’ve seen a company’s Twitter respond to a user regarding something they tweeted about its product. Perhaps they feel a bit more accountable, as consumers now have a platform to shout out their opinions, to which others are actually paying attention.

Folks, we are in the midst of a revolution of communication, both socially and in business. And it seems are though it’s here to stay. People like the power they’ve been given to share their thoughts and interests with others. Who’s willing to give that up any time soon?

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