Yesterday I participated in a panel with some amazing speakers: Oliver, Xavier and Jason, moderated by the wonderful Zulaika. The subject was Social Media and Contextual Insights and was organized by the initiative “Inspire Tech4Good” and YAEP (Young Africa Educative Project), managed by Jenny Roopnarain.
I’m sharing some of the things I said in 2 parts. Here’s part #1, about how social media has evolved and how it is beneficial for both individuals and businesses.
“Social media is simply a place for people to come and connect with one another.
With the years, it evolved from being a niche type of website for early adapters or a students website to how we communicate on an everyday basis.
For individuals it became a super powerful tool – connecting with people from all over the globe easily, finding loved ones from the past but also overcoming bullying, organizing protests, liberating countries (ie the Arab spring) and even finding an organ donor.
The interesting part is that from being very public on social media – wanting to have a lot of friends/followers, likes, comments… individuals have started to shift to interacting more in private – whether with one person or a few or groups where they discuss. Groups are an amazing tool for people to share knowledge, get help and support, recommendations and learn new things.
Watch the full panel discussion here:
The opportunity for businesses arose because the usage of the platforms is free, but the company responsible for the service – such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn need to monetize the traffic, and they do it via ads. The bargain is that for businesses it’s very inexpensive and literally, like for individuals, they have access to billions of people around the world (those who are connected to the internet at least).
This model is also starting to change a with platforms like OnlyFans and even LinkedIn which its main business model is not dependent only on ads rather on other revenue channels like paid subscriptions and talent solutions.
One other thing is that we tend to put all of the social media platforms in the same bucket but the truth is that they are very different from each other. While on all of them we all try to paint the most perfect picture of us, there are still major differences. Instagram is a “pixel prefect” platform where people login into because they want to look at beautiful pictures, LinkedIn is absolutely not the same and I’d go there to connect with professionals in my industry, find a job or a candidate. On Snapchat I vomit rainbows and on Facebook I consume news. Even within the platforms there are differences. “Stories” is not the same as the feed itself, the feature of disappearing content was introduced by Snapchat but is now a super feature on Insta, as well as Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, YouTube and others.
So we do need to be cautious with putting everything in the same category – whether good or bad. The main takeaway is that there is so much opportunity, and as today’s subject is Tech4Good, we should make sure that the conversation doesn’t become a Black or White conversation: there’s a lot of Gray in the middle and we need to have a conscious conversation about it.“