What is Social Media: Is Social Media just everything Fluff and Hype?

For many years, Social Media has always been seen as being less significant when compared to the mainsteam media like television, radio, newspaper and mobile advertisement (like ads on buses and interchanges)  especially from the business community at large. There has also been a common thought among many people that social media is only meant for people who are in their teens or who are young adults and that social media is either too troublesome and not meant for everyone. These thoughts are really a serious misconception that has since been proven wrong over the years that have passed.

Another misconception that arise is that some people think that people who have facebook accounts, only sign up for Facebook so that they can just play social network games like FarmVille all the time. Many top management executives also tend to think that social media is just fluff and hype, they don’t even bother to have a Facebook page because they believe that having a Facebook page will not really increase sales or have any significant ROI for their company.

A Pew Internet Project surveyed among adults 18 and older, and gave a deeper insight regarding the behavior patterns of users of social media accounts (in this case it is Facebook in particular). There are pretty interesting findings in this survey: Facebook has taken over as the social network of choice; 73% of adult profile owners use Facebook, 48% have a profile on MySpace and 14% use LinkedIn. “Blogging (which was previously popular among peers) appears to have lost its luster for many young users,” said Lenhart. “The fad stage is over for teens and young adults and the move to Facebook — which lacks a specific tool for blogging within the network — may have contributed to the decline of blogging among young adults and teens.” [ Source: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx ] This shows us that the previously social activity of blogging has been somewhat replaced with what is known as Facebooking.

What then can we learn from this survey? This survey actually tells us that over the last few years people are beginning to realise that social media cannot be ignored. People of this age group are even ditching what used to be their favourite pastime or hobby – Blogging for Facebook! This shows how powerful Facebook, or in general, social media has become. While many users may create Facebook accounts with the main reason of wanting to be “social”,  the sheer explosion of users on Facebook and other social media platforms make it a force that cannot be ignored.

Over the last few years, Companies began to realise that a majority of their audience or target market are Facebook users! Those companies that previously shunned social media are made to realise that the importance of social media simply can no longer be ignored or brushed aside as hype or fluff; because they see their peers and competitors use social media to their advantage. Many companies are even setting aside a social media budget so that they can have a presence in Facebook by having their Product or Brand Facebook Pages, as well as run effective Facebook campaigns so that relevant messages, contests, updates and customer engagement can be broadcast to their target audience in Facebook.

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