The Good Internet July 16th
It’s easy to be cynical when you work in marketing, especially if your work involves the web, and ‘social media’.
It’s easy because a lot of the time things get made more complicated than they need to be. There’s obfuscation between what people think the social web does, and what it actually can do.
Let me give you a really lovely example. You might have heard about it, but stick with me.
Karen Klein is a 68-year old school bus monitor, in New York State. In a rather shocking turn of events the students she rides with on the bus every day turned on her, subjecting her to some pretty nasty personal abuse.
As is the trend with almost everything, one of the students filmed the footage and posted it online. The video quickly gained people’s attention, and someone figured out the identity of the poor lady being reduced to tears.
This is where the magic happens. Someone who’d never met Karen decided they wanted to support her. They set up a page where people could donate money towards a holiday for her.
To date, there’s over $680,000 donated, by people who don’t know Karen, and will probably never meet her.
As far as I’m concerned, technology’s role is to help us do things in a better/faster/bigger/safer way.
50 years ago, had this happened to Karen, the support network that would have rallied around her would have been her immediate local community, with the information passed around by a particularly powerful ‘social network’ – the playground.
In 2012 its an iPhone, YouTube and thousands of people using a crowd-funding platform. The result is the same, but the impact is much, much more powerful.
Why is any of this important?
Professionally, my job is to help organisations make use of the social web, perhaps to promote a brand or to support a marketing campaign.
For me, the best return you’ll ever see on your investment in the social web is when you work out how you can build a genuine, shared connection with people and do it — honestly and openly.
Remember that the social web is just a bigger, better and more powerful way to connect with people. Embrace that. Don’t make it any more complicated than it needs to be.
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