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10 March 2008

Social Media is Coming for Us All

David Pogue, technology editor and blogger of the New York Times, sings “I want an iPhone”

Posted by Kevin Doell

So I had my first real fun with social media and the result is the video above. Sitting in the audience of the Ragan Communications Social Media Conference in Las Vegas, I turned on the camcorder as David Pogue belted out his not-yet-so-famous rendition of “I want an iPhone.” (The guy has a boat load of talent.) When I got to the airport the next afternoon, I downloaded the file to my Mac, ripped it into iMovie and shared to YouTube over the airport’s wifi connection. I tagged the file, “David Pogue,” “Apple,” “iPhone,” and “New York Times.” When I checked it out on Sunday night, I was shocked to see the video had been viewed over 250 times. Today it’s over 350. Amazing.

For about a year I’ve been listening to podcasts, going to conferences, visiting Web sites and talking with colleagues who share my interest in social media. I’ve been feeling sold on it for quite some time. As far as I’m concerned, the jury is out… social media matters and is here to stay.Yet, as confident as I feel about this communications channel, I do have my moments of doubt. It’s moments like these when I take comfort in coming across empirical evidence to anchor all the anecdotal chatter. Unfortunately, even empirical data on the subject can seem schizophrenic.

A Canadian firm, Veritas Communications, recently launched a specialty PR practice called com.motion. The firm’s focus is to help organizations break through on the Web. As part of their launch, they had Pollara conduct a poll of 2,265 Canadian adults over the age of 18 on the topic of social media. Some interesting bits include:

• Forty-six percent say social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube and blogs have “forever changed the communications landscape” and are becoming even more important than television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

• Only 15% said it’s “fad.”

Then again…

• Only 12% of businesses said they were going to spend more on social media marketing and outreach, while 39 percent of businesses indicated they were going to spend the same. (no big move in the needle here)

• 66% of respondents said that social networking sites like facebook and MySpace were “time wasters” and that employees should not use them during the workday. (ouch!)

So perhaps, at this stage in its adoption, social media isn’t for everyone, but think of this. We live in a society that reveres youth and that consistently follows its lead. If you consider that more than half of teens in America have a social media profile, there’s little doubt where we are heading.

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