What's the big deal about Social Media Day?
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  business_analytics ibmsoftware
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Did you Tweet today? Update your Facebook status? Check in on LinkedIn and Foursquare?
I did. All four.
Of course, it’s my job to do these things.
I’m glad it is. Because even if it weren’t, I’d still do it. Tweeting is fun. Facebook and LinkedIn keep me in touch with my friends. And, increasingly, they’re my way of knowing what’s going on in the world.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done the same, probably every day for quite some time now. No big deal, right?
Today is Mashable's second annual “Social Media Day,” a global celebration of the technological advancements that enable everyone to connect with real-time information, communicate from miles apart and have their voices heard.”
Social Media Day activities are taking many forms: San Jose, Las Vegas, Toronto and Dublin have made made official proclamations. Some 1400 Mashable Meetup groups are hosting local events and thousands of individuals have turned #SMDAY into a trending Twitter topic. From Twitter to Facebook to Mashable and back, people are making new connections, gaining new followers and marveling at what we’re collectively creating.
All of these activities are expected; none is really that surprising. So why is Social Media Day such a big deal?
I can think of three reasons:
Your connections are your currency. The more you have, the richer you are. On its own this isn’t new, but the ease and speed with which we can find each other, connect with each other and share with each other on a conceivably infinite number of topics certainly are. Help your connections make other connections and you'll be very rich, very quickly.
All media is social media. As a student of media history, I’ve never been keen on the term “social” media. All media are inherently social, for why do they exist if not to connect people? In a more pragmatic sense, just think: Where do more and more people go now for breaking news but Twitter? Where do 500 million people go to discuss politics and entertainment but Facebook? The site isn’t just taking a greater share of Web visitors every day, it’s taking share from other sites as well. This isn’t to say there’s no value in visiting CNN, BBC or CBC; but discussions about their stories often happen elsewhere. For Marketers and brand managers, too, an increasing number of clicks lead to Facebook and Twitter.
Data, insights, outcomes. There was a time when it was enough to run your business knowing a little about what happened last week. That was roughly the time when newspapers came in the evening and TVs still had antennas. Now, not only must companies anticipate the future, they must analyze and shape events that haven’t even happened yet. In this brave new world, historical data can help, but analytics-driven organizations need to tap into data that moves and changes a lot more quickly and tells a much more valuable story. To a great extent that data comes from Facebook and Twitter. Properly analyzed, companies can learn from this data what their customers like, what they don’t and what they’re likely to want next.
Some technologies take years to transform business structures and social habits. Facebook, Twitter and their underlying technologies have done the same in less than 10. It’s a constantly shifting, increasingly connected and hyper-competitive world we’re all living in now. The organizations – and increasingly the people – who succeed in it will be those with the tools and the skills to understand and master it.
That’s why Social Media Day is such a a big deal.