by Darlene Salenga
Group 8 - Heavyweight STS X2
It is an attribute of human beings to want to connect, to share, to contribute something or even to brag about the food they've eaten, places they've gone to, accomplishments and whatnot . That is why social networking sites or social media in general is a powerful force to be taken into account. Social media has been a part of almost everyone's lives in this day and age. It is a global phenomenon and has become a vital platform to communicate with friends, family, acquaintances and even with people we don't personally know. In addition to the communicating purposes, it also is instrumental to businesses in advertising and marketing aspects, virtual meetings, online banking, etc. Entrepreneurs whose in a click-and-mortar type of business also use this kind of medium to sell their goods and services. Social media also makes it possible for us to catch up on the latest trends, news, or simply put, to be in the "know". It truly has made a huge impact and has contributed so much in our generation and will continue to do so in the future.
Last May 29th, I had the privilege of attending The Future of Social Media forum at TechPortal in UP-AyalaLand TechnoHub. Yay, thanks to our STS prof. Aside from the fact that there were free food and freebies, which is one of the reasons I love about forums and seminars, I really loved and enjoyed it because it consisted of different tracks with different panelists to talk it all out about convergence, collaboration and the future of media biz.
In the politics and social advocacy track, I learned about the discipline of engagement and science of communication. It's very easy to be popular but it's different to be able to influence agenda and change. One thing I took note from what the panelists had discussed is that every single person, whether you are a journalist, advocate, celebrity, doctor, lawyer, or even a normal student like me, is important in the community and has a powerful voice that could affect change. I also learned that it was about engaging ourselves in the public; We have to take risk and choose to serve in ways that we can do, either virtually or personally. We must be advocates for change. By this, we bring other people into awareness to what is really happening in the country and what must be done to be better leaders. It is also important that we are mindful of who we are when we are advocating or a part of a group wanting to change the world. Transparency is fundamental and integrity must not be compromised. We are our own words. What we say, reflects on us. Another takeaway was that social media can be used for posting or sharing stuff that we are really passionate about. Erwann Heusaff, a panelist in the lifestyle track and the person behind fatkidinside.com, stated, "There's an act of self-actualization when you share the best version of yourself in social media." When you embrace passion, it will emanate in everything that you do. It will emanate from your tweets, Facebook posts, blog and vlog posts or even in every word that comes out from your mouth. Not only your friends, subscribers or fans learn something about your "something" but you too, would achieve a sense of fulfillment in discovering yourself more, doing what you love and sharing your own best stuff to other people online. As for the digital marketing track, I liked what they have said
about building business/brand online. I learned that many business people think that they are making a success in social media if their brand/page got many likes, shares or even views. But the question is what did the people really like? the brand? the page? the product? Or are the people just curious? Or they only liked or shared it because other people did? Achieving success in social media isn't as easy as we thought it could be. Yes, fame can be bought and fortune can be attained and be an overnight social brand success story, but it is only short-lived and is not sustainable. The brands that will win in the end are the ones who invest in people. We have to have engagement. As Carlo Ople, a panelist in the digital marketing track and the managing director and partner of Di9it, said, "Companies that care the most, will win the most. If you care, social media will be critical. Who are the biggest care bears?"
I have so many more takeaways from the forum but the one thing that summarizes it is the reality that we now have social media. It is really there. It is a known fact. But it's not about the social media platform; It's about the people. We have to use this technology to bring people together. We also have to be socially relevant. According to Pam Moore, a social media speaker, consultant and the creator of pammarketingnut.com, the heartbeat of social media is the people. It's about what we see, what we talk about, what we listen to, watch, virtually touch and feel that makes people keep coming back. It's the ability to share all of the special times, dreams, prayers, accomplishments, opinions, hopes and moments with others. It is the new friendships that start with a tweet on Twitter and turn into a like or friendship on Facebook. It's the friendship that evolves in real life friendship. It's the principle of sharing life together. People are the heart of social networks. We can't have one without the other.
Let me end this paper with what Tim Yap has said on the forum: Make sure to live a full offline life, so you can have a full online life. Live our lives both online and offline.