9 Ways Social Media Does Good
We regularly hear about the destructive power of social media. There’s no doubt that it can create a variety of problems, but social media also has a positive side.
- Continuous Improvement Process: One of the most interesting aspects of social media is that it behaves like a continuous improvement process. The algorithms of social media are always assessing and adjusting, which means that as participants we must continuously adapt. Whether it’s changing the interfaces we use to access our favourite sites or changes that make businesses rethink their approach social media keeps us on our toes.
- Brainstorming: Looking for a solution to a problem? Try engaging online. Social media is one of the few places where brainstorming actually produces a number of innovative ideas. In addition to the many useful blogs on an array of issues, there are also many brainstorming apps.
- Measuring Progress: Social media comes with an array of metrics. Even in its most passive form, it tells us who we are connected to and with whom we have interacted. For business, it produces metrics that can measure performance and it never stops changing those measurements in a continuous effort to better measure.
- Free Advice: Not sure what to do next? While everything you find on social media isn’t necessarily helpful or accurate, there is a lot of good and useful information. There are also lots of people who are happy to share their experience and advice at no cost. LinkedIn’s professional groups are a great resource when you are looking for advice or suggestions and the same can be said for Facebook social groups.
- Tribes: Social media allows people with similar interests and values to meet and exchange ideas. No matter how unusual your preferences, you can generally find someone online who shares them. For some people, their online friendships are often the only ones in their lives that are supportive, creating a necessary lifeline.
- An Equal Playing Field: Social media allows individuals to have a voice as powerful as large corporations or governments. This has gone a long way towards improving customer service and making large and small organizations more responsive. While it may not always work for everyone, it has gone a long way towards building powerful platforms for the little guy.
- Better Informed: While mainstream news on traditional platforms like print, radio and television are good at sharing those things the majority of people are interested in, it can ignore critical information for minority communities. Social media allows alternative voices to be heard. It also allows us to focus in on those news stories we care about the most.
- Social Awareness: Social media is amazing for gathering and coordinating support in times of need or crisis, like during natural disasters. It is often the first place people go to find out how loved ones caught in disasters are doing.
- Keeps Us Safe: Social media is a great tool for focussing attention on organizations or individuals doing harm. Social media was used to bring attention to and undermine the power structure of Joseph Kony. Social media can also help authorities to track and find criminals, such as the Boston Marathon bombers who were identified through posted images from the day of the bombing.