Trust Me, You Know Social Media

The following is an article I originally wrote for the Woodmark Times, a company newspaper distributed quarterly to 3,000-plus employees.

Tell me you know nothing about social media and I’ll quickly disagree with you.

In fact, I’ll bet most of you regularly use social media. How many of these sound familiar: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, blogs or forums? They’re all under the social media umbrella.

What is social media?

Ask Google what social media is and you’ll get 131 million answers. It’s a phrase that means many things to a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Quite simply, social media is the use of technology to shift communication from a one-way to a two-way street.

Amazon’s true value

Let’s look at an example you might not have thought of: They are an online shopping site that sells hundreds of thousands of items at fair prices, but that’s not what sets them apart. The real value isn’t what they provide–products that buyers can find anywhere–it’s what their users provide: Reviews!

By allowing users to review products and provide feedback, true value is created for everyone involved. Amazon learns which products people like, manufacturers learn ways to improve, and potential customers learn whether or not they should buy.

Technology can’t do it all

While technology can do a lot, it can’t make decisions for us (yet!). Remember to communicate with people, not at them, both on social media and in the real world. But you already knew that.

Told you so.

What’s your definition of social media? Was Amazon a good or bad example? Let me know in the comments!

Photo credit: Jeff Milner