There is so much more substance to Social Media, these days, than just being able to stay in touch with friends and relatives, living nearby or far away. Maturation is taking hold and its influence in our world is blooming like a spring flower in May.
Social Media is Helping to Change our World
In recent weeks, the entire world watched as the people of Egypt mobilized and overthrew their dictator through rallying Tweets and instructive mobile text messages. Â In just a handful of days, forty years of dictatorial rule was ended by a united and determined populous crying freedom. Â
Full credit should be given to new media for providing Egyptians with communications platforms and tools they never had before. Â For the very first time in decades the Egyptian people had real-time intra and extra-communications to plan with. Through their connection with the free world they were united, inspired and supported.Â Five or ten years ago they may have found themselves fragmented, isolated, abandoned and crushed as their political soul-mates once were in Chinaâ€™s Tiananmen Square.
Not since Moses brought the word of God to his fellow Jews in bondage in ancient Egypt, has any other phenomena been so instrumental in liberating so many oppressed people. Â If these recent events are not the makings of a twenty-first century biblical story, there is little doubt that millions of Egyptians consider their new found freedom Â part of a modern day miracle.
Every day, the man-made innovation we call Social Media helps to improve the lives of so many â€“ in a variety of ways â€“ by connecting people with other people. It is a beautiful thing to observe when selfless people join together seeking a common bond in the best interests of the many.
Social Media is Helping us Discover that Which Was Lost
Recently, Twitter helped a homeless New York man locate a daughter he had not seen in 11 years. Â Twenty-seven year old Sarah Rivera was finally tracked down by her father, Daniel Morales, after one of his Tweets found its way to her through his network of 3000 followers. Â At the time of their reunion, Morales had only been using Twitter for about three weeks.Â On the day they met at a local park, Morales got to chance to hug two young grandchildren he never knew he had. Â Is this not a miracle?
This is only one of many similar happy endings we can credit Social Media for delivering. Â Consider all of our troops, overseas, who have corresponded with their loved ones through E-mails and YouTube videos, as well as on FaceBook and even face-to-face using Skype.Â In our previous wars, families often heard nothing for weeks and months until letters arrived from the battlefield â€“ a good many, too late.Â
Today, mothers and sons; wives and husbands; and children and fathers can say goodnight to each other in real-time.Â How great is that?
Social Media is Helping Us Help Others through Difficult Times
And there is even better news to share?Â In 2010, the Red Cross raised more than $800,000 for the Haiti relief effort through their $10 text message donation initiative, which was backed by the United States State Department.Â This is only one example of the growing use of Social Media as a fundraising tool.Â Billions of dollars in donations have been raised for various causes using a variety Social Media platforms and tools. Saving the life of a starving child is a miracle of immeasurable value.
The Good Out-Weighs the Not So Good in Social Media
Every sliver-lining resides within a dark cloud. We often hear of the many threats that Social Media presents us with.Â Sure, terrorist organizations use online sites to recruit their assassins and to teach others how to build bombs that kill and maim innocent people.Â Yes, there are sexual predators using the Web to lure young children into having sexual encounters with them away from home. Â
It is also true that more than a few people have been scammed out of their life savings over the Internet.Â And, we have all been victimized or inconvenienced by those who have stolen our identities; sent us tons of spam or have infected our computers with viruses and malware.Â Human nature always seems to find a way to deliver us BOTH good and bad results.Â That is for sure.Â But, criminals and creeps exist online and offline, as well.
Despite that which is wrong with Social Media, there seems to be much more â€œgoodâ€ coming from it than â€œbad.â€ Like anything else that affects our daily lives to such a great extent, we must always be careful and cautious whenever and wherever we open our lives to the outside world.Â This advice comes with life experience and is often given to help us protect ourselves to both real and online threats.Â
Go ahead and call Social Media an over-hyped and over-embellished phenomenon. Â The sources of many â€œmiraclesâ€ have been thought of that way for eons. The difference with Social Media is that we can easily document and validate most of its miraculous claims. Â Perhaps, God has had a hand in all of this Social Media miracle-making?Â The point here is not to debate religious claims or to proclaim modern day miracles, just to be appreciative of the value of Social Media in todayâ€™s world.Â Obviously, it is making a difference and that of itself is a welcome miracle.
Marc LeVine isÂ currently President of ICA Social Media (aka: Integrity Consulting Associates) http://www.icanewfriend.com.
ICA Social Media is a marketing (SMM) organization helping small businesses increase online performance, sales, leads, revenue and ROI through strategic internet marketing planning and creative use of search marketing, pay per click marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, conversion optimization, user behaviour analysis & analytics reporting, location based mobile check in marketing, QR code marketing, microsite development, online contests and more.
Marc is also theÂ former Director of Social Media at RiaEnjolie, Inc. (a subsidiary of InfoPro Worldwide, Inc.). There,Â he alsoÂ developed winning social networking strategies for the company as well as its numerous small business website clients.Â
Under Marc's directionÂ RiaEnjolie wasÂ nominated for a Shorty Award in Social Media and had also seen several Blog articles written byÂ him picked up and published in key business trade publications.
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