Social Media: More than just Marketing

What has social media done for you?  Think personally and professionally.  Well we have the ability to be in constant communication with friends and relatives, easier global networking opportunities, a platform to share our voice, to reach and influence a target audience and the ability to obtain real product evaluations.  But it’s a little more than that.

Thinking about this month’s theme, women in the wider world, social media can provide us with real life insight into issues affecting women.  The internet has provided us with information on every topic you could ever think of.  Informative, yes, but are the facts enough?

In some instances no.  What social media can provide is an extra reach to obtain real life accounts of the issues affecting women globally and a place for women with similar issues to meet and converse.  Where?

Online communities.

Online communities have been around for many years, before social media became social media.  So social media is not new, it’s just grown with technological advances and got a fancy new, if not confusing name.  Howard Rheingold studied the WELL in 1985.

Now there is a debate over whether online communities, can in fact be a community.  This is long standing but what I believe is that if a ‘virtual’ community is in the hearts and minds of its members then it is a community.  A community is as only as good as its members.

This is the part of social media that I am most passionate about!  To me this is the real social media and where brands should be concentrating their efforts.  Enough digression and back to my point.

Before writing this I conducted a Google search for online women’s communities and communities with space on Facebook and Twitter.  Like with the internet there are communities and women talking about issues affecting them everywhere.  This makes me happy.

If you read online community literature or even literature from Tim O’Reilly regarding his Web 2.0 vision, you see the contextual underpinnings of the ‘social’ paradigm.  Two way communication, co-operation, co-production, sharing, creating, exchanging – you get my point.  We have embraced social media into our daily lives and have used the technology to network and overcome our issues together.

When we face problems it can feel like we are the only person in the world with this issue.  It can become very constricting.  Social media has provided us with the opportunity to find and communicate with other who have faced similar issues.  Hearing others stories, coping strategies and their experiences can help with our own growth and development.  We can also educate ourselves with wider issues that affect other women.

I think that this is one of the most important opportunities social media provides.  The platform to educate ourselves, help others, overcome our own issues, find, obtain and receive support and strength from others in a similar situation.

There is wealth of rich and insightful information waiting to be found, shared and with your help created.

Social media is more than just marketing.  There are communities of women out there waiting to welcome you.

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