by Paula on January 16, 2011

Reading through the latest references on the internet to Social Media, and the news stories are dominated by the unrest in Tunisia.

CNN: Tunisian Protests fuelled by Social Media Networks

There is a lot of blame for Social Media activity on Twitter and Facebook being “the cause” of what’s happening over there. It is sensationalist reporting like this that causes so many business owners that I meet to think of ‘Social Media’ as a dirty word. They read stories of people being stalked or targeted, and of terrorism or organised crime being plotted and planned through online Social Networks, and this heightens their fears of entering into a dark and scary underworld!

I wanted to take the opportunity to clear this up. Social Media is not the cause of these crimes or uprisings, they are merely a tool for communication that is being used for people to come together with people that have common interests, and talk and plan their activities. The people who wish to engage in these activities will do so anyway and have been doing so for many years, long before Social Media was even a concept.

The fact that Social Media is always mentioned in these news stories that are about people coming together for bad (or good) is that it is the quickest, easiest method of gathering a like minded audience and getting a message out. The ability to get your message across to so many people so easily is what attracts this method of communication when they want to drum up some action and support.

So it is important to be clear – Social Media is the tool – the chosen method of communication. The messages and the communities would exist anyway except now they are visible and trackable – that’s a positive thing right?

But the most important thing to learn from this, is that if every news story which talks about people coming together and communicating and reaching people quickly, sites Social Media, then isn’t it right that when we are talking about getting your business message out there to a large audience of like-minded people quickly and easily, Social Media should be your tool of preference too….?

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