Thursday, May 5, 2011


Social media is not just about marketing, promoting, business, feeds, ROI and all the other marketing terms I am sure you have heard of, read and used yourself.

Social media is about connecting and this has been especially apparent on Twitter and Facebook. People use social media to reach out to each other and connect with each other.

There is an incredible amount of sharing on social media sites. People write about everything and share so much about their lives and themselves. It truly helps us to connect, to embrace, to have empathy, to show compassion and you can see this by how many people reply or comment on updates or blog posts or statuses and send or share links with others.

It shows me, that people in the world can learn from each other and mourn for other peoples' losses, deaths and tragedies and support each other and communicate with each other in a way we never could before.

We can also celebrate with people, congratulate people on their accomplishments and achievements and be happy for someone who has witnessed, seen or done something.

On the 3 May 2011, Derek K Miller died of cancer at 41 and wrote a last post to say goodbye to his family. His post reached hundreds of his followers and his friends, who said goodbye to him in their own way and cried tears for him. It also reached out to hundreds of strangers, to people who have or have had cancer and did what I believe social media does best, makes us closer to each other, helps us learn about others and really reaches us, wherever we are in the world, no matter our own individual circumstances.

In the same way, Jenny writes a diary for her son Cooper who has leukaemia and shares her love for her son and again, blogs like these teach us about Jenny, her love for Cooper and both their experiences of cancer.

And a 5 year old boy, whose sister sold his artwork which paid off his cancer treatment, again shows us how we can connect, can reach out to each other, can reach out somehow in ways we never could.

I cannot express how beneficial social media is. Not only for business, for marketing, from building a brand, from putting a business online, from a making money point of view, from building a community - which are some of the reasons that individuals, businesses and corporations are using social media for.

Businesses, entrepreneurs, small businesses and corporations have seen how they can benefit, how we can all benefit by communicating with each other, by connecting with each other in a number of ways.

We no longer just look at websites. We watch YouTube videos, we use Facebook, we communicate on Twitter, we read blogs, use discussion forums, click on likes, share links, we make business connections on LinkedIn. We use email marketing, surveys - we are truly being more socially active online.

And the benefits are astounding. We can connect and make contact with people who love the same things we do. We can find people in our industries. We can find jobs, resources and ideas. We are truly sharing.

We can respond to queries, clients and customers in a hundred different ways. The work we do is different. We look for, find, research and use information which is immediate on the Internet and we can benefit by reading, observing and listening to each other.

But the essential most crucial part of all the social media, is that I as a stranger can mourn the loss of a man who loved his children, I can learn, read about and understand about illness and family life.

We can teach each other and learn from each other. And we get a glimpse of love. We see empathy and compassion. We can wish each other well, help each other, give and receive advice.

I truly love social media but it goes further than that for me. I love learning from people. I love the way I can get information, any kind of advice, assistance, tips, hints which helps me with my business, with marketing and deciding how to teach my clients. I love the way I can find information and news and stay so up to date about anything that is happening in the world.

But when social media shows us that we simply can connect with each other and get a glimpse of love -  then we watch and see how people respond, full of empathy and compassion for each other; that's when I truly get a glimpse that we all just really want to hear each other and be heard. (It's quick, people make thousands of Tweets a minute and hundreds of Facebook updates - so you cannot possibly read everything)

Sure, we want immediacy, we want businesses to respond quickly when there is an issue or a crisis. We want to have our say, have the freedom to express (whatever, TV shows, cooking skills, business meetings, funny things that happened through the day, complaints, news, and opinions)

But social media really is about communicating. Not just communicating, but learning about each other. And being very, very grateful that we can.

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