Social Media: Friend and “Frenemy”?

Gone are the days when you would place an ad in the newspaper if you wanted to get the word out about your business. Social and electronic media is now looking to be the best way to reach a targeted audience, as people utilize Google, Yahoo or other search engines to specifically look for the information they need at a moment’s notice. Having a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a blog increase brand awareness nationally (as opposed to your local newspaper) as well as produce more revenue for your business simply by having e-commerce on your website. A one-stop shop all without having to change out of your pajamas.

Not to mention, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter help people reconnect and network in a way that is so much easier than hitting the pavement passing out flyers and attending awkward business card exchange mixers. (Anyone who has ever had to experience those, I feel your pain. It’s just like cold calling customers.) Through these sites, you cannot only find people within your field of expertise, you can communicate with them and build a rapport. Not just business benefits from social media either, online dating has sky-rocketed since the 90’s. More and more people are finding their ideal “mate” with just a click of the mouse. A business person should have the information that Buying Instagram likes helps promote your posts at the profile. Proper attention should be paid at the increase in the sale of the products and brands available with the company for profit. 

So, we all know about the pros…what about the cons?

Does everyone need to know each and every detail of your daily life? No. But most end up sharing it anyway. Over sharing information on the web can cause some unfortunate situations. A harmless post about getting ready to go on a cruise with your family lets your “friends” know that your house will be empty for a week. Same goes with “Facebook Places”, a Facebook application (which has been getting some heat already, read article here) that shares your exact location with “friends”. You might as well put a sign on your house that says: “Hey!! No one is home!! Steal my stuff!” Having a bad day? Got in a fight with your significant other? Looking for some sympathy? Post in on Facebook, and your life becomes an open book, often inviting into your personal space.

Another con is lack of human interaction and communication. It is much easier to end a relationship via email, or set your relationship status to “single” on Facebook than meeting in person, or say hi to a friend via Twitter instead of picking up the phone. Customer Service responses through email or social media are even becoming more common, making companies “colder” or “robotic”.

Is that what this world is going to become? A giant computer? Is person-to-person contact going to be only reserved for extreme circumstances? Exaggeration? Yeah, maybe it is. Ben Parker said it best: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Social media is a powerful tool which can be extremely beneficial. However, we are still responsible for how we chose to use it… so tweet smart, people.