Social Media – Connecting the Dots

June 15, 2010

The following is a guest post by David Roy, senior program assistant at the University of British Columbia, who helps teachers and non-teachers further their post-secondary education. Married with no kids, but a cat and seven rats, he spends his days gaming, blogging, reading, and trying to stay sane in this increasingly insane world.

Dave has written a wonderful commentary of our social-media-dependent-times and I hope you will find value in the insights he shares. Despite my departure from Facebook, I appreciate Dave’s perspective on why social media is important (and rather helpful) in shrinking the world to our advantage.

If you would like to be a guest poster on my blog, please contact me.


The term “social media” is becoming so prevalent that even those who don’t partake in it have some idea of what it means.  That’s how you know something has infiltrated the culture.

We are becoming increasingly a world community, where who we associate with online is almost as important twitter follow me post 300x222 Social Media – Connecting the Dotsas who we associate with face to face.

Companies that want to succeed need to have an online presence of some kind, and that used to mean just a web site.  Now, successful companies need to have a Facebook account or fan page, and it’s very helpful to be on Twitter as well.

Interaction is the name of the game

People don’t want just news and announcements; they want to feel a human being is behind the online wall that they’re reading.  A Facebook page or Twitter account that is nothing but announcements and press releases isn’t even worth having, as most people won’t want to follow it.

Those who do are already your customers to begin with.

Social media has also made online personalities more prevalent.

It used to be that people could be successful at blogging just by having an interesting blog.  While that’s still true, to remain even more relevant, you need to place yourself in the social media marketplace as well.

Successful bloggers are opening Twitter accounts for those brief statements of opinion that won’t feed a whole blog post.

They’re making Facebook fan pages so that their readers can interact with both them and each other outside of the comments section of individual blog posts.

Location-based social media outlets are the new rage

Applications such as Foursquare, Gowalla, or Yelp strive to create yet another way for users to share their commonalities, this time in regards to where they go.

When you go to a bar, a restaurant, a store, or even a university building, you can check in there and tell people you are there. While you can restrict your comings and goings to those you choose to put on your friends list, if somebody else is in the same place, they can usually see who is there with them.

This is the new way for people to connect with each other.

What does this mean for us, and for society as a whole?

Is it replacing the personal communication that people have thrived on for centuries?

It all depends in how you use them.  The location-based apps can enhance your personal communication with your friends (if you’re all on the same app) because you can suggest a place to go that everybody can see, and you can all meet up there.

You can get tips on what do when you are there that others have left as well as leaving your own tips for future visitors.

Facebook helps friends from miles away keep in touch with each other’s daily lives, making you feel just a little more a part of it.  It can also bring old friends back together, something that would never have happened unless you just happened to run into the person on the street.

Whether rekindling the old friendship is a good thing or not is another story, of course.

3000043099 d9d87c0a14 261x300 Social Media – Connecting the DotsAs with anything, social media can lead to bad things as well.

Children should be educated on how much to reveal on any site they join as well as how to decide who they should allow to see their profile.

Facebook has an age policy that is younger than many other sites, but many people get around that so their even younger children can join.  As long as you are monitoring their usage and you are educating them, then you should be fine.

Adults can find themselves enclosed in their own little online world, only interacting with the pixels on the screen rather than those people behind it.

One could argue that many of these recluses would be the same way even without social media though, trapped in their own world of books, movies, and games without interacting with anybody in the outside world.  At least with social media, they are talking to real people, even if they are behind a computer screen.

Social media brings the world closer together

Prior to the advent of social media, people were still coming together online, in chat rooms, forums, newsgroups and discussion boards.

They were feeding that human thirst for contact in whatever way they could do so. They would be discussing politics with somebody from Germany, or hockey with somebody from Sweden.292331 298x300 Social Media – Connecting the Dots

The world was already slowly working toward that one community.

Social media has just added speed to the inevitable.

It’s crossing every generation, from teenagers who take to it like candy to elderly people who just want to stay in touch with their far-flung families, but who also are able to touch that world community as well.

How else would this lowly blogger from Vancouver be asked to guest-post for the blog of a young woman in Russia, then for somebody in Ontario, and finally this post for Mansi in California.  We’re all coming together, slowly but surely.

Social media is just the grease that makes things easier.

dp seal trans 16x16 Social Media – Connecting the DotsCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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5 Responses to Social Media – Connecting the Dots

  1. DaveNo Gravatar on June 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Mansi!

    I really enjoyed writing it for you.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

      Thank YOU, Dave. I really appreciate the time you took to research this topic and hold it together so well.

  2. HayaahNo Gravatar on July 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Nicely written. I think you put it out there just as I see it, and all in a balanced good light. Whilst reading, I was thinking about the doubts that hide in the chests of my old school Ma, and her collegues at the secondary school -which has been her entire life almost now- and make her read this article to get a clear picture of what this befuddling ”Facebook” really is (and ofcourse by that, I mean social media as a whole) :D

    • DaveNo Gravatar on July 4, 2010 at 2:54 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Hayaah!

      I hope it helps in some way. :)

      • HayaahNo Gravatar on July 4, 2010 at 5:48 pm

        They come easy when you mean them. You’re welcome :)

        I hope they help too… when I need explaining I’ll know where to come-a-running for a well strung out gist of it all in one place!


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