Following up my last post on the Centers for Disease Control blogging about a possible zombie apocalypse, I thought we should also touch on social media in a general sense, because it appears to be as misunderstood as much as it is widespread.
(I mean, honestly, is there anything more embarrassing than the CEO dropping tweets from his mobile phone? Or getting a Facebook friend request from the CFO?)
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When people talk social media, odds are they are referring to one of the Big Three: LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook.
Right now (as in these numbers change hourly), there are 100 million active users on LinkedIn, a buttoned-down, business-like social media site that made headlines a couple weeks back with the biggest IPO so far this year, bringing in hundreds of millions from investors as its shares easily closed at twice their opening price.
Twitter – the fastest growing of the bunch – boats more than 200 million users. And while they’re the boldest of the social media universes (at least according to one survey), they’re also the most condensed. Another infamous Twitter stat reveals that something like 10 percent of active Twitter users comprise roughly 90 percent of the traffic. So while there’s certainly a vocal minority, the rest are spectators along for the ride.
Then there’s “The Facebook,” the granddaddy of them all with more than 500 million active users. (As a frame of reference, the latest U.S. total population estimate came in at a little more than 313 million.) My favorite two facts about The Social Network? First, that easily half of them log in every single day. And that 70 percent of them live outside the United States.
So, where am I going with all of this? Well, it’s understandable – and even laudable – companies want to get onboard the social media bandwagon. It’s great free marketing, a hip way to stay in touch with employees and projects a savvy image.
But it’s more work than the simple point and click (whether it’s with a mouse or a camera). And while they all might look alike to the untrained eye, these social media universes – for lack of a better word – couldn’t be more different. To treat them otherwise is to risk becoming a textbook case of corporate miscommunication.
Or, as my daughter says, an epic fail.