The ability to influence at your fingertip: Whenever, however, wherever

I love Social Media

by GDNet

The Internet has inevitably revolutionized thoughts and ideas and how these thoughts and ideas are read and understood. The fact that ideas can be shared out to the public fosters an ambiance of freedom and expressiveness. Social media tools are most favorable now than ever before. I think what makes social media unique is the sharing aspect of it. Human beings are sociable by nature, they share links, comment on articles, reply to tweets, tag pictures, market events, respond to invitations,…etc. Information abundance is not the key advantages of the Internet, but the sharing aspect of that makes it exceptionally trans-formative. It’s the language of the century, though there is a counterargument that claims that social media, makes people spend more time behind screens and eventually they turn out anti-sociable and hostile. But I think this is the extreme end, social media can turn against you if not rationally monitored.  It was all-new to me till last year. Of course, I knew about social media way longer, but was not tuned-in until only recently- if I can say I am tuned-in today. The ability to say something, contribute an opinion, make a difference, and influence change, is extremely liberating.

Last week, the team at GDNet, along with myself attended an event on Digital Marketing Arts in Cairo organized by ITvision. This event brought together big shots in the business sector to discuss Digital Marketing and social media strategies developed to empower marketer with impactful know-hows to unveil new approaches for Middle East online marketing. Google, Socialbakers, three major telecom and mobile companies in Egypt, Yahoo, Nielsen and many more were all present at this event. This was an absolutely corporate event, which is a very different environment from what GDNet or similar initiatives -who work with social science researchers or knowledge services- do. But the model is successful, and social media works in leveraging various corporate brands and products, making them more responsive to customer queries, and amplifying news about companies and their products. This is exactly what we aim for at GDNet? Raise the voice of southern research and researchers? Make research more vivid? Southern researchers, communications practitioners, and policy makers are more informed by current ideas and evidence based knowledge? Connect South? Find new way for research findings to travel? And so on….

Social media can be of great help with all the above but with rules. First; Social Media strategy is not a magic stick? It has to be aligned by a larger strategy or vision of the organization. Second; social media is about interacting and not preaching. Third; don’t waste time understanding how the technology work, but rather use it. Fourth; Content is king. Last but not least is BE USEFUL and have FUN.  :)

Social media is fast-paced, outreach is unlimited and helps you build on relationships that make sense. It exposes the traditional boundaries of user responsiveness. Different users quickly skip through different platform to look for quick and good questions to their answers. People are connecting, sharing checking, posting and commenting. Now that all channels and tools are in place, content can never be more important. Here I stress the fact to be topical and useful; it is instrumental to focus on the main messages and the value of what one wants to say. With a growing variety of stakeholders’ interests, content must be dynamic, tailored, localized, and cater for relevant preferences. Please check out this presentation by Mobinil Digital and Marketing communications manager on the 3Cs of the digital world (consumer, content, and communication).

Social Media is the language of today and tomorrow. Young people are quick adapters to new social media innovations, while future generations are born into it. This is something worth taking into consideration, if one intends to survive and bring about desired change. Without a doubt, social networking can strengthen your career, expand your possibilities and build personal and professional brands. It’s a cheap, powerful way to connect. It generates relationships that one can capitalize on using face-to-face networking. Social media entails less control and more opportunities, its bringing down boundaries. Indeed it’s a new level of engagement.

You can check out conference outcome and follow twitter hash tag #DMArts

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