Thursday, August 6, 2009

Social media: the great equalizer….or not?

Submitted by: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

A lot is being made of social media these days and with good reason. There are exciting tools and applications that are changing the way the world communicates and does business. But recently I heard someone remark that social media is becoming the great equalizer in the world; giving everyone a voice in whatever discussion was being held. On the surface, I couldn’t argue with that thought. But as I’ve been compiling research on social media, I’m having a change of heart. I’m not saying social media isn’t revolutionizing the world of communications, but I do have some doubts about it being the great equalizer.

The number of overall users of social media is skyrocketing on a daily basis; it leaves little doubt about the impact. But, it’s important to keep in mind that worldwide there are just 500 million computer owners (with an average of 2 users per computer). The world’s population is 6.77 billion. That means there are a lot of people in this world without access to computers and related technology. As communicators (whether you’re in PR, advertising, marketing or just want to spread your opinion), it’s important to keep that in mind. We’re not communicating with “everyone.” While the conversation may be instantaneously worldwide these days, it doesn’t mean the conversation truly involves the world. Keep that in mind when you’re communicating.

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