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Ford’s Scott Monty pointed us to this Fast Compnay article about Facebook’s new feature enhancement where you can now tag a brand, organization, company, celebrity … anyone with a fan page … and have the tag link to their fan page. Cool.

In the article, a question is raised about whether the entire Facebook Like system has any value to brands, asserting that “Social media experts have begun to look askance at the Like system.” And, then asking important questions like;

  • What does it really signify?
  • If you “Like” a kind of soda, for example, does that actually mean that you’re buying the item?
  • Or just that you like the idea of the item?
  • How do you really know how engaged with the product any particular Liker actually is?

Although these are, indeed, great questions and worthy of deep discussions at a social media professional event or a marketing executive team meeting, I think the article misses a point.  An important point.  There’s more going on in social media than just marketing brands!

Our online social networks are an extension of our “meat space” social networks and, as such, we are discovering new and innovative ways to communication important social concepts to each other — in the absence of visual and verbal queues.

"Connected" book coverThe Like concept gives us insight into the most basic thoughts, beliefs and desires of our friends, families and the closest of contacts in our social graph.  It’s like sticking a wet finger up in the air to get a quick gauge of wind direction.  It’s not fancy. It’s not techno-slick. But it works.  Take a dive into a book called “CONNECTED. The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. How your friends’ friends’ friends affect everything you feel, think, and do” to see what I mean.

Now, let me lay down some of my core beliefs about social media, in the hopes we can all review these comments, years in the future, to beat up on me if I’m wrong … OR praise me for my genius foresight if I’m right (wink);

  • I hear the comment a LOT lately how “we’re losing our ability to socialize.”  This is said most often in the context of our kid’s development, as if we adults are somehow perfectly adjusted socially and immune to the impacts of the changes going on around us.  I DISAGREE! I think we are all just starting to socialize  (in a global context) and haven’t yet figured out the right way to do this.
  • As we discover many of the pitfalls inherent in this new world of global, instantaneous socializing, we’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way.  When we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and move forward, we’ll do it with more sensitivity to how we can be better social communicators.  More importantly, we’ll figure out how to best teach our children — by example.
  • Here’s a biggie prediction; As soon as we make significant strides in figuring this stuff out, the impact of global social systems on our lives is going to change our world view.  It’s going to change mankind. It’s going to change us as individuals.  All for the better.  But, we’re just starting out and we have a LONG way to go before this actually comes to fruition.

With the realization that social media is here to stay, we all need to chip in to figure out how to navigate its rough waters. We need to not be pessimists, and not simply be optimists … we need to be leaders.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The Leader adjusts the sails.” — John Maxwell

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