Social Media 201: Will You Be Ready For The Changes We Can’t Yet Conceive?

Posted on April 23, 2012


The Big Picture

  • When thinking about social media tools strategically, whether for yourself or for your organization, it’s important not to get too bogged down in the details of a specific tool.
  • Instead, you must first understand what these tools, on the whole, uniquely allow you or your organization to do, why they are important, and how they can serve your strategic goal or goals.


  • Social media tools come and go.
  • The dominant social media tools are constantly evolving and at a very fast rate.
  • Because these tools are user driven, each tool is used differently and has its own culture and subcultures.
  • Like any other tool, these tools can be put to different uses, given your strategic goals.

How should I think about these tools?

  • First, understand what these tools uniquely allow you or your organization to do.
  • Then, decide whether or not that capacity will serve your strategic goals.
  • Finally, if you think these tools will serve your strategic goals, then, look at the specific tools more carefully.

What Does Social Media Uniquely Allow You To Do?

  • Social media allows you to communicate instantly and at any time with people who themselves can communicate to others instantly and at any time.
  • These tools also provide a wealth of information about the people with which you communicate.
  • Using social media effectively, you or your organization can create a local, national, and/or international network of engaged and active supporters organized around your core story, idea, or message and who are mobilized to act in ways that serve your core story, idea, or message.
  • These tools can be used for other purposes, for example, broadcasting your story or cocktail party socializing, but it’s the real time engagement and organizing that makes these tools unique. Ask President Obama.

Why Would I Or My Organization Want To Create Such A Network?

  • Ultimately, the answer to that question will depend on the strategic goals of your organization, but here are some broad concepts to get you started.
  • There is no value without valuers. If you can organize valuers and direct their valuing, you can create value. Social media can help you organize valuers.
  • Social and political power is ultimately measured by a person’s or organization’s ability to motivate others to act to achieve some particular end. Social media can help you organize people to achieve particular ends.
  • To create demand when there is none, people must be convinced of a need they did not know existed and most people rely on the opinions and judgements of their peers to decide if a need exists or not. Social media can help you organize and direct the opinions and judgments of people who influence their peers.

Why Is Social Media Important?

  • Right now, there are something like 15 million monthly Facebook users in Canada and 9 million use it daily. About 3.2 million Canadians are on Twitter and about 654,000 of them tweet more than ten times a day. There are about 25 million mobile phones in Canada and about 45% of them are smart phones. The wireless network required for smartphones and wireless broadband access is available to 97% of Canadians.
  • According to the CRTC, in 2015, 14 million Canadians will be accessing the internet through mobile devices. That is to say, in 2015, 14 million Canadians will have the power to communicate instantly with each other at any time of the day from anywhere that is served by a wireless network.
  • By 2016, it has been estimated that there will be 1.4 mobile devices for every person on the planet. In other words, by 2016, every person on the planet will be able to interact with every other person on the planet — instantly.
  • In effect, social media and mobile technology is creating a whole new world and, like the discovery of the previous new world, the first people to colonize this new world will reap the greatest gains.
  • In this new world, however, the resources to be developed are people.
  • The printing press, the radio, the telephone, television, and computers each transformed human society in ways that were unimaginable to the people alive at the time of their introduction. Social media and mobile technology will change human society in ways we can’t yet even conceive.
  • Will you and your organization be ready?

Thoughts or feedback?

Posted in: Social Media