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What's the big deal about Social Media Day?
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  business_analytics
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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.
But even if doing these social media "things" weren’t part of my job, I’d still do them. Tweeting is fun and the 140 character limit is great for clear, disciplined writing. Facebook and LinkedIn keep me in touch with my friends and colleagues. Far more than email, 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 creating together.
All of these activities are expected; none is really that surprising. And to a lot of people, the sight of social media pros gathering to wax poetic about social media still invites mockery. Not so long ago, Twitter was a tedious echo chamber of marketers talking to other marketers. Naturally, everything was wonderful but not much happened. 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. Connections are now person-to-person and plat
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? But 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?
This isn't just me talking. Facebook 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.
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 decades 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.
And, as a footnote: I'm happy to announce that I've accepted a new role within IBM as a Social Business Strategist and Engagement Lead for IBM Software Group. Starting next week, I'll be turning most of my attention to the ways social media and, more broadly, social business, help us connect, communicate and create value for our clients. For a little while, the remainder of my attention will continue to focus on Business Analytics - specifically helping clients understand their Analytics Quotient and bringing you the latest information and updates about Business Analytics Forum happening in October. Watch for my postings here and on the IBM Software blog as well.
Exciting times, to be sure.