Friday, April 24, 2009


Given the conception of our newest Facebook page for the Mission Red event, I’d like to dedicate today’s blog entry to the social media phenomenon.

On my first HAPPY FRIDAY blog, I alluded to the prevalence of social media, and the fact that everybody’s involved. In fact, Facebook currently has more than 200 million active users worldwide, followed by MySpace at 106 million users, with Twitter quickly gaining ground as the fastest growing social media site with 55 million users.

And you’d be surprised who’s plugged in. The fastest growing U.S. demographic segment on Facebook is women age 55 and over. On a side note, Oprah is now Tweeting. In her opening tweet, she inadvertently insulted Twitterers everywhere by writing in all-caps and calling us “TWITTERS.” But she’s forgiven – she’s Oprah! And her gaffe is a sign that she’s actually writing the tweets herself, which may have changed since her initial slip-up. But I digress.

This phenomenon has really taken off, and it’s not exactly a new thing. What is new is that it’s not just us youngsters dominating this space anymore. Mommy bloggers talk about everything from diaper rash creams to tips about how to schedule a weekend quickie with the hubby. Clearly this social media thing has turned into a utilitarian tool for everyone. What used to be a venue for IT geeks and gamers trading tips and tricks about their esoteric world has turned into a true marketplace of ideas, where you can subscribe to whomever you’d like (and their theories or outlook, or whatever) and follow their every move as they posit and prose about what they think stuff means, and interpret the world from their point of view.

Meanwhile, those of you not interested in following some lame, self-absorbed raconteur can use this same social media platform to (re)connect with old friends whom you actually want to chat with, and catch up. Given the regional mobility of the US population, most of us are not living in the same place where we grew. And for those of you who are, most of your old friends probably aren’t. In that case, you can see what they’re up to and how fat, or skinny, or hot, or successful (or not) they’ve become. You can Google people and find their “social footprint” online, and even find out what other people think about them.

It’s a mixed bag, this social media thing. I personally love it, but some may find it too intrusive. A classmate did a presentation on how college football and NFL recruiters make fake Facebook pages to friend possible recruits to get the real story about them before committing. And a funny thing about this guy, someone made a fake Facebook page about him! And he’s not even a college football or NFL candidate.

And then you have people who ruin it for the rest of us, by posting stuff like the Domino’s Pizza video, or Ashton Kutcher and his ridiculous attempt at beating the biggest presence on Twitter, CNN, by advertizing to try to get more followers, which he did. This kind or blasphemy flies in the face of what it means to have a social network. If a powerful media personality or a news source uses their resources to penetrate into the social media sphere, it ceases to be genuine and it will lose its best quality – being user-generated.

The point is this social media thing is a moving target. We’re making the rules as we go, and it’s a fun ride. The best thing is that there’s something for everyone. We all have our space online, and we’re making the most of it.

One last thing – before you log off from your computer, come follow us on Facebook. It’s a bare bones page right now, but we’re working on it. We welcome any suggestions, and please, no fake profiles. There’s no dirt here pal!

1 comment:

The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago said...

The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago twitter page is and you can also find us on facebook and facebook causes!