I feel just like a baby in a “your infant can learn how to swim” class at the YMCA, ’cause grad school has thrown me into the social media pool. I’m taking Social Media Theory and Practice under Dr. Carrie Brown-Smith at the University of Memphis, and I remarked to her last week that I had learned in five weeks what the rest of the students in the class have known their entire lives. It has been exhilarating, challenging, and eye-opening.
Now before you stop reading this because you don’t think social media has anything to do with you, think again. Check out these stats, and I guarantee you will find something that has a direct effect on your life. In addition, according to the Pew Research Center , 83 percent of American adults have cell phones and one-third of those phones are smartphones. When we add to the already complicated mix the fact that Google knows more about each one of us than we do about ourselves (if you use a computer or cell phone at all), we now have a political, commercial, and social landscape that requires some knowledge of the influence and power of social media. Even if one’s life does not require an immense network of apps, pins, tweets, and friends, awareness of what is happening in this new world is key to staying viable. I have to hand it to Sir Francis Bacon. When he penned the words “knowledge is power” almost 500 years ago, he obviously knew of what he was speaking.
Dr. Brown joked last night that she cannot always use her notes from one semester to the next for her social media class – that is how quickly the social media landscape changes. New products come and go daily. In fact, Google just introduced another, using one of my favorite groups to perform in a recent ad…just another way to Google Me, Google You, and keep us coming back for more.