Monday, March 1, 2010

Are You "Doing" Social Media?

I've been blogging for a few years now and initially became interested in Social Media as a way of promoting my blogs and was keenly interested in what was emerging from "Web 2.0". It is hard to really put a rate of acceptance stamp on it but Social Media is on its way to being commonly accepted to the point where people will stop talking about doing and it will just become part of of most everything that people do in one way or another. It certainly hasn't reached that point yet but every day it is moving in that direction.

By now you've probably heard about the earthquake over the weekend. Tweets on Chile and Hawaii are both currently trending very high at Twitter. Mashable's founder Pete Cashmore reported on Facebook that Mashable's coverage of the events in the Social Media realm has been reported by CNN. The Mashable article showing the pictures from Twitter was tweeted 1901 times, shared on 457 times on Facebook, and dugg 216 times. Google announced its Chile Earthquake Person Finder, the story was tweeted 1702 times, shared 269 times on Facebook, and shared 197 times in Google Buzz (this morning). You might have heard of coverage of the forced landing of US Air flight 1549 in the Hudson River. This event really helped propel use of Twitter in breaking news stories. Social Media and coverage of the Iranian election and protests afterwards, provided coverage that the usual news organizations couldn't get with an impact on people there that could only be provided by Social Media.

In January the Pope told priests that they needed to blog. “The spread of multimedia communications and its rich ‘menu of options’ might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different ‘voices’ provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.” The story reporting this was tweeted 1860 times, shared on facebook 887 times, and dug 181 diggs when I looked at it this morning. In 2009 it was announced that the Vatican would be putting videos on YouTube. The Catholic church is not the only religious organization realizing the potential of Social Media, just last week it was reported that the Dalai Lama created a Twitter account. The story was tweeted 3520 times, shared on Facebook 1134 times, and 319 people have talked about it on Google Buzz. There was apparently a fake account that had fooled the media, this reportedly helped convince the Dalai Lama to create a verified Twitter account.

In January Microsoft founder Bill Gates joined Twitter. Mashable reported this and later reported that Bill Gates had gotten over 100,000 followers in 8 hours. I don't know what the record is for fastest rise to 100,000 users, but I have to think that Bill Gates set some records in that area. The story announcing that Bill Gates had gotten so many followers in such a short time was tweeted 3109 times (as of last look this morning). Mashable later announced that Bill Gates was using Twitter to announce his new project.

Social Media is being incorporated more and more into the old "media" on a regular basis. Skynews, the 24 hour UK news channel, in January started a roll-out of the Tweetdeck on all its news staff computers in January. Sky News is owned by the News Corp, parent company of Fox News, and the parent company of MySpace. Julian March, executive producer of Sky News Online, said “The big change for us in 2010 is evolving how social media plays a role in our journalism. We no longer ghettoise it to one person, but are in the process of embedding throughout the whole team.” The story was tweeted 939 times (as of this morning). The BBC Director recently mandated that their journalist use Social Media. Peter Horrocks, the new director of BBC Global News said, “This isn’t just a kind of fad… I’m afraid you’re not doing your job if you can’t do those things. It’s not discretionary.” This article was tweeted 1409 times and shared 122 times on Facebook (as of this morning). Add to this that many news organizations, newspapers, magazines, and even television stations have reporters and writers using Social Media to reach their audience and spread the word. CNN has a regular segment called the Ireport where viewers can send in clips where they can do their own reporting of events. Another example of Citizen Journalism at work.

Social Media can break news faster than many of the traditional news outlets and it provides a coverage that the traditional news organizations can't get anywhere near. It allows everyone the opportunity to get their message out to a wider audience than ever before. Are you "doing" Social Media? If not, why not, and when will you?

Photo Credit: Terremotochile Catedral via conycampos
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