So many people are constantly texting or updating status reports on Facebook, MySpace, or YouTube. How do they get any useful work done? As far as I am concerned, all this online stuff just stunts your ability to develop meaningful relationships with other people. Anyway, this whole social media thing is just a fad.
If this reflects your point of view, you’re certainly not alone. But perhaps these statistics about the impact of globalization and technology might cause you to reconsider:
- It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, television 13 years, the Internet four years, and the iPod three years. In just a nine month period, Facebook added 100 million users, and downloads of iPhone applications reached one billion.
- Print newspaper circulation is down 7 million over the last 25 years. But in the last five years, unique readers of online newspapers have increased 30 million.
- Collectively, ABC, NBC, and CBS get 10 million unique visitors every month, and these businesses have been around for a combined 200 years. YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace get 250 million unique visitors each month, and they’ve only been around for the last six years.
- 96 per cent of people born between 1980 and 1994 have joined a social network.
- In 2008, John McCain raised $11 million for his U.S. presidential bid through traditional campaign fundraisers. Barack Obama leveraged online social networks to raise $55 million.
- One out of eight couples married in the U.S. in 2008 met via social media.
- More than 1.5 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook daily.
- 80 per cent of companies are using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.
- American teens send an average of 2,272 text messages per month.
- In 2006, there were 2.7 billion searches conducted on Google every month; this number climbed to 31 billion per month in 2008.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
- Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and it now features over 13 million articles in more than 200 languages.
- There are over 200,000,000 blogs, and 54 per cent of bloggers post content or tweet daily.
Still think social media is a fad? Cynics will discount the statistics, but the evidence is overwhelming. There is clearly a fundamental shift in the way people are communicating with one another, and it has enormous implications for how you recruit, motivate, communicate with, and lead your people. Social media is also changing how your clients and customers select and buy your services and products. What are you doing to keep up with them? What are you doing, as a leader in your organization, to harness the power of social media?
Remember that you can start small. For your next online search, go to YouTube instead of Google and see what comes up. Look up the names of a few of your business colleagues or personal friends on LinkedIn and Facebook. Visit a few popular blogs such as The Huffington Post or Duct Tape Marketing. Just getting to know some of these channels will increase your level of comfort. Once you get your feet wet, you’ll find it easier to wade further in. As a leader, your role is to recruit, communicate with and motivate your people, and to further the success of your organization. If you ignore social media, you will do yourself and your organization a great disservice.
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