Why Social Media Works

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In fact… it’s a game changer

A game changer certainly for me anyways. For a long time the national media were totally free to place whichever angle they felt necessary on any story in which I was involved. This more often than not gave an unbalanced view of the situation.

This was something that frustrated the life out of me. I was stupid enough on more than one occasion, something that everybody is aware of. On each occasion I messed up, I was quick to accept responsibility and try to make amends for whatever it was I had done. The media would report these incidents whichever way they wanted. To be fair, sometimes there was a lot of truth, but at other times there wasn’t a semblance of it. That is the way that traditional media works: they own the means of broadcast and publication, so they get to tailor the message as they see fit.

Then I spoke to a pal of mine about Twitter. I heard of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and such like, but thought that it wouldn’t be productive for me. Either way I said to my friend that I would take a look at it and get back to him. Six months later I was still undecided but got some advice and decided to give it a shot.

That’s how it all started. To be honest I have enjoyed the experience immensely. There are times when it has become annoying, that goes without saying. And maybe it’s not for those of us without a solid constitution and a thick skin (some of the verbal abuse I get is truly unbelievable) but in my case, the positives have far outweighed the negatives.

What I really like about it is that you are not only able to interact with football fans around the world but they get to see a side of your personality that they never knew existed. And sometimes I get to see a side of theirs…

It also gave me a platform to interact directly with the media: some of whom had ran amuck with all manner of personal smites against me, not only professional but personally without having ever met me in person. All of a sudden the person they were having a go at not only had the chance to respond directly to those comments but I could do it in real time. For me that’s the real bonus.

The ways in which the world is changing are enormous. And it’s all about instant media, instant communication. People want news and they want it now. They don’t want to have to wait around to buy the paper in the morning, they want to know what’s happening, as it happens. And increasingly they want to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth. Twitter and other forms of social media enable everyone to own their own means of publication!

We can see this going on in the world around us daily and I believe it is incredibly positive for society and communities worldwide. People interacting all over the world instantaneously. What a brilliant and enabling opportunity!

I am certain that without social media there would have been no Arab Spring, no Leveson enquiry and Hosni Mubarak would still be in power in Egypt. We’ve always had uprising and social change, but not at this pace. Of course like any new technology, there are some flaws, but in any great democracy, freedom of information is a keystone. For the government to try to censor not only social media but also people’s internet usage in the name of security, worries me greatly.

I think it’s vitally important for us all to be able to hold to account those to whom we delegate authority. I think a really important tool for us to do this is social media, and all the other means of communication afforded us by the internet. It allows us all as individuals to connect with people of like-mind in order to take a stand against something we are not happy with.

Alone we are a voice in the desert. Together we can move mountains. This has been shown on a number of occasions, but to me nothing beats the Hillsborough campaign. It brought together people from all manner of different backgrounds, fans of football clubs all around the country, people who had no interest in football, celebrities, politicians and journalists: all united as one for the same, poignant cause.

This is just but one example of why social media works and has to remain uncensored. We don’t want to end up like characters in George Orwell’s great novel ‘1984’. In my opinion censoring social media sets us on a dangerous path. We cannot allow this to happen.

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3 comments
Paypal VCC
Paypal VCC

To be honest, once you start censoring media and everything else, you begin to lose all freedom in which this country was founded upon. The more you allow them to do this with censorship and various other outlets of control, then you have lost all will to think for yourself.

London SEO Expert
London SEO Expert

My personal opinion is that they should not censor it. I do agree that censoring social media can cause more harmful path. In fact, social media helps gives feedback, sharing ideas and building a strong connection with people.

MatthewDowson12
MatthewDowson12

Joseph, do you think the rise of social media, mainly more twitter, has made for some very lazy journalism? A lot of paper reports these days are just quoting tweets and put into the paper without really looking into the tweet without and interview about it or anything?

Josh87Davis
Josh87Davis

I was talking to a friend about this the other day....

The current generation of kids are the 1st to grow up into the 'social media world'. They wont be able to escape it and it'll affect them every day of their lives. At school they'll spend more time reading facebook than a text book and most conversations they have wil revolve around who said what about who on this site or posted this picture on another site. I had left school just before facbook/myspace suddenly sprang themselves upon us. I'm so glad! I struggled enough to concentrate as it was.. if they had been around for me to be stuck on all day then i would've left with even less than i did! So anyway - is there anything else, in the history of humanity that dictates peoples conversations as much as social media? I cant think of anything. Everyday you hear people talking about who did this on facebook and which celeb said this on twitter etc. It's changed the world and it's changed people.

You're right about the positives. The Arab spring, the uprisings, allowing the western world to know whats happening behind what would normally be closed doors etc. Helping people become aware of issues far quicker than ever before and raising awareness of many issues (like the Hillsborough campaign). So for these and many more reasons, i think social media is fantastic but.... it brings out the worst in all walk of life (as i'm sure you know!) It gives people a platform to abuse. People think they've succeeded in life if they've got 2,000 Facebook friends or 20,000 twitter followers. People are addicted to social media! People who have no ability to talk with other people in a room face to face, are stuck for hours in front of a computer 'talking' to their 'friends'.

Noting i know of in my 24 years alive has impacted society as much as social media. Because of what is said by people on social media sites people get fired, break up, get arrested, get divorced, get sued, get depressed etc, etc.

So yes, social media is fantastic and i think with the way the world is now, it's needed. Like you say, it's that instant answer that everyone wants or the tool to tell the world what’s happening before it’s even happened.

But what happens when the masses start controlling what happens........ They then become controlled. Either by their governments or by rules. It's bound to happen. It's sadly, just a matter of time.

FrankMonaghan
FrankMonaghan

Congratulations, great looking site! I take your point about social media speeding up engagement and democratising it to some extent, but it's only the combination of social media and action on the streets or elsewhere that changes things. You did a great job of getting the Hillsborough petition enoug signatures for a parliamentary debate, and your presence in the public gallery was much appreciated, but without the work of HJC and others day in day out there would be no change. There's a view that power has shifted to 'the people formerly known as the sudience', but that's a bit simplistic as you can see from the number of followers (good word that) someone like Justin Bieber has. Corporations have yet to find a way to monetise and colonise social media, but they are surely working on it. Meanwhile, people of goodwill such as people who seem to want to put their fame to some purpose, and people of goodwill without the fame but the strength of numbers, need to carry on hitting the streets and, where possible, the profits of those who have none. Good luck for the website and best wishes, Frank

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