Is social media about technology or people?

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*Originally published as a LinkedIn article.*

On June 30, it was World Social Media Day! Social Media is a powerful, global communication tool which is used to enhance our relationships both professionally and personally.

To guide my own reflective opinion piece, I have used a thoughtful statement from the book called, “Ethical Practice of Social Media in Public Relations” edited by Marcia W. DiStaso and Denise Sevick Bortree.

“At its core, social media is not about technology, it’s about people.”

Brian Solis

Solis raises a terrific point and it’s one that communication practitioners, employers and communication students should reflect on when developing social media strategies. When you start to analyse what this statement could mean to you, the possibilities are endless… If you take the heartbeat out of social media, what do you have left? Just another technological platform longing for a life to live.

We need technology to create social media content and access social media platforms. Technology is used to facilitate and maintain meaningful connections. As our technology advances, the way we communicate with our online audiences and communities evolves.

Without the human element or touch, social media is just another platform without a soul, voice, or an interesting persona. Social media’s core purpose is to connect with people, and create sustainable, long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships.

So, why do we choose specific content, put forward certain ideas or concepts and implement certain strategies? How can we capture our audience’s attention? We’re usually looking for a certain type of reaction or response. It’s important to think about the purpose of content rather than just posting anything and everything just to look active on social media.

If we’re looking for something more than a simple connection or a few extra followers on company social media page, we must:

  1. Listen to employees across the different departments
  2. Look at how other companies within the industry are communicating with their audiences
  3. Explore ideas…
  4. Analyse the organisational culture
  5. Think about what we’re trying to achieve

Organisations and individuals are searching for valuable relationships with a brand or company. Having a simple company page is not enough to inspire meaningful engagement.

Get creative. Keep your followers and audience in mind when brainstorming content. What’s going to start the conversation online and also have the ability to take the conversation offline?

Social Media is about people. After all, people are using social media, people are visiting the platforms and engaging in the online communities, PEOPLE are behind the screens. Not robots.

Thanks for reading. Over and out!

T 😊


Ethical Practice of Social Media in Public Relations – Edited by Marcia W. DiStaso, Denise Sevick Bortree. Click here to view the Ebook.

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