Social media is now the widest reaching technology in the world creating a collective force that has already been the tool used to generate social change in a radical way. The explosion of Internet use is the root cause of the exponential uptake of social networking.Browser-independent, social networks like Facebook are now present on every mobile and static Internet-enabled device. There are statistics that show there are now more mobile devices than there are people on the planet. A startling thought that we are now outnumbered by our computers.

Email lives on and strong – but socially it is used less

One of the bastions of Internet connectivity and communication was the email –a medium still extremely popular as a business communication medium because of the traceability and easy storage of information that is exchanged by email. A record of every message resides on the mail server so if you fall of your perch and lose your mobile device, your emails are still there for the world. For just about every other purpose however, information is disposable. We rarely have a need to record a phone conversation to access it again. This analogy crosses into the many social networks which collectively have over a billion daily users who communicate all types of media to their friends every day.

Viral social networking

Sharing is caring in the social media world and the aforementioned lack of a need to keep more than a few days’ worth of interactions allows a social media page to run like a tickertape of news from everywhere. Although disposable in nature, the information that is shared between social media users is broadcast and can be shared in an exponential manner. Share a picture with 100 friends and they share it with 100 and suddenly 10,000 people saw the picture. Make this a funny picture and it will keep on propagating. Maybe into the millions if it goes “viral”.

An advertisement that is distributed in this way can bring in colossal amounts of traffic and be very lucrative if you can make it appealing enough to encourage sharing and there’s the caveat. To reach a large number the recipients all have to be willing to make that share.

Social networking helps those in need

When a disaster strikes such as Hurricane Sandy, many people only have their mobile devices left to communicate with and no office machinery to support them at all. The communications channels for many businesses were destroyed with their equipment. In many cases social media has been the only way to get in touch with their customers and apprise them of the situation. The same media has allowed people to gather and reject oppression in some countries, placing a wholly different function in the social media realm.

Wherever you look, people are logging in and communicating using social media – it is more powerful than ever and now one of the foremost communication and information sharing mechanisms in the world. The phone and the computer are now becoming more and more integrated with no slowing of the process on the horizon. Social media seems to now be part of the very fabric of society – and a powerful part too!