Social Media – Bring Your Skates
The owners of the social media site, ShoutLife, are all in their twenties. They have sought to create a fun environment for their thousands of guests. Connections are made and marketing takes place as members enjoy getting to know more and more ‘friends’. If you stick around long enough you are likely to receive a bulletin alerting the minions to a group-wide event. Recently that event was a roller skating party in Michigan. The date and time was announced for a facility that likely housed around 200 individuals.
What about the individuals who live in Australia, or Maine for that matter? How many of these individuals would/could travel to Michigan for a roller skating party hosted by individuals they had never met? There is a strong likelihood that the owners of ShoutLife wound up skating with some of their friends and family. Perhaps a few members who lived in the region showed up, but most of the visitors of this social media site did not attend. The question is, “Did it make sense for the owners to post an event that would not likely draw a crowd?” The answer is yes. You see, for most of us just the thought of trying to gather a global network of individuals to something as simple as a skating party will draw a smile. Not only will we smile, but we will remember enjoyable times with friends in our past.
Not only will we remember, but we will come to associate a positive impression with the social network that promoted the idea. Chances are strong that the owners had every expectation that the attendance would be negligible at best, but in a strange way it served to provide a bond with site users who could identify with something that at first blush seems meaningless. Social media provides a sense of playfulness that can help visitors escape the frustrations of everyday life to a place where individuals with common interests can be found and discussion can take place. Social media works because it is a playground where anyone can go whenever they have a few spare moments. The anonymity of social media allows many to discuss thoughts and feelings they may never discuss with someone face to face. Some may argue that social media is feeding into anti-social behavior and I suppose this is possible, but it has also afforded shy individuals with the opportunity to interact with others and find that place of common ground where they can express themselves in an environment that provides a measure of safety. A portion of the strength of a social media site can be extracted for use in a business site through the use of enhanced blogging options or social media forums. If you provide the right environment you may be surprised at how many individuals will show up – roller skates notwithstanding.
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