After attending the Ohio Web Leaders (OWL) breakfast earlier this week, I started thinking about the concept of how Social Media is truly changing our world. I know this is not a new concept to those of you familiar with social media, but for those of you new to it or not totally convinced yet, here are some things to think about.
- News – traffic updates, breaking news, weather updates, stories coming up later that day…we no longer have to wait for the evening news or the newspaper to be delivered. We have all of these things at our fingertips. Literally!
- Job Search – whether you are an employer or a person in search of a job, wake up and smell the coffee! Social Media is certainly the latest trend in employment and has replaced much of the old traditional resume formatting and printing on nice paper as well as reading the classifieds on Sunday to see what new jobs are out there.
- Restaurant Reservations & Updates – never before have we had so much information about restaurants and bars available to us in real time. From that day's special to the beer just being tapped to making your reservations, tools like Twitter and Facebook have it all covered.
- Networking – someone mentioned at the OWL breakfast that Twitter is a way to start a conversation and get to know someone before you actually meet them. Interesting concept, huh? Getting to know someone before you meet them? It sure works though. You can walk into any networking event where you have never met anyone face to face and talk to many folks you have "already met". Oh yea, and whoever would have thought I would be introducing myself as "@yrayburn" and people would really know what I meant!
- Competitive Research – never has it been easier to know what your competitors are up to. Become a fan on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Sooner or later you will find out some good info that you otherwise never would have known.
- Hobbies – I can connect with other runners, folks who like to cook and those who simply like to eat!
- Sports – Our own Columbus Blue Jackets, Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns, Cavs and Indians…info on ALL of them via Facebook and Twitter. More groups "than you can shake a stick at" as my Mom would say. (Never was sure what she meant by that). And as I was typing this, I just got updated on March Madness scores via Twitter.
- Travel – From lowest airfare to car rental to AAA….never been easier to get travel info. Local or abroad.
- Shopping – One of my all time favorite hobbies (hmm, guess I could have listed this in Number 8 as well!)! The best deals and coupons are sent right to me…I don't even have to go to their website. I can even get the "deal of the day" from Amazon!
- Replaced the water cooler?? – In the presentation at OWL, Katie McCartney said that Twitter is "the world's biggest water cooler". I think there is certainly some truth to that. Now not only can I rehash last nights game with my co-workers, I can rehash it with all my Tweeple and Facebook Friends.
As a final thought, just like we couldn't have imagined the changes that have come about in the Social Media world over the last 5 years, we can't imagine what it will be like 5 years from now. As a matter of fact, my 19 year old niece (freshman at Ohio State) who is trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up, asked me if I knew I wanted to do what I am doing now when I was in college. I simply said, "Honey, when I was in college, the job I have now didn't even exist!"
We are in for an exciting ride so keep your arms and hands inside at all times!