Social Media - The Light Side
Social media is an incredible force that's still gathering momentum. In August this year, Facebook passed 1 billion daily users for the first time. It's easy to think that social media is all self-obsession, brand marketing, and cats. Some of us filter the noise though because we know that valuable signals and stories are buried within it. Here are stories of how it's used by the light side to contribute, not destroy.
José Antonio Rodríguez Salas is mayor of Jun, a small town just north of Granada in southern Spain. With local government budgets always tight, and Spain's economy in bad shape, José hit upon a powerful solution: Twitter. It's now the primary way to communicate with local government in the town. In one notable example a local citizen saw a street light was broken, they tweeted this to José, who tweeted it to an electrician. The next day the electrician tweeted that he'd repaired it complete with photographic proof. The whole process was so simple, yet powerful. Can you imagine it being this easy where you live?
It's good to follow inspiring people, those incredible individuals that somehow flick a switch on inside you. It's great to follow those people and interact with them. You know what's even better than that ? Being that person. If we inspire one person each day, then we've done something incredible: we've left a permanent, positive mark upon this world. This is the source of my inspiration project Dance with a Muse. This time last year, when I was going through a rough period, I decided not to look for inspiration, but to provide it. Using Pinterest I've pinned everything from quotes to stories to infographics to history. It's this simple encouragement that remains the most popular pin though:
As Jun has experienced, sometimes the simplest solutions are the most powerful.
Infographics are a great way of gaining, or sharing, a little knowledge in a short space of time. They convey knowledge, secrets and tips in an easy to digest package, something that people are always looking for. Take this example of responsive website design:
I think a cooler background colour would be easier on the eye. However, this explains what responsive website design is, how it works, and what the key features and benefits are. It's great easy to digest knowledge. From the point of view of content creators, it's attractive, and often evergreen.
In any country where censorship exists, the light of day is the most powerful weapon. Twitter may be blocked in China, Iran, and North Korea, but that doesn't mean that people can escape the attention that social media can bring.
Yan Linkun, the deputy chairman of a state owned mining company, found this out the hard way. His fit of airport rage was posted on Sina Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. Linkun was fired and imprisoned. What's worse is that his family was present.
Turn to the Light
The light side is the path to take. Using social media to solve problems, inspire, share knowledge, and work against the dark side is incredibly popular. People love all these things and respond well to them.
What are your favourite light side ways of using social media? Please tell me all about them in the comments.