Thursday, July 21, 2011

Social media mayhem’s silver lining

By Megan Wagner

My seventh grade geography teacher told us on our first day of class that “the world is getting smaller.”  This single statement was referring to the speed of information we received, at the time, through TV and telephone (“You can see a live newscast all the way from China on the 6 o’clock news!”)  Of course, we totally naïve 13-year-olds didn’t have a clue what that meant – until we grew up years later and were thrown into the social media revolution.

Yes, I said revolution. The way we communicate, whether it be through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, social media clusterYouTube, etc., has permanently changed.  If you think social media is a fad, think again (and check out this social media infographic or video below that boasts the stats). However, with all of the different technologies available, I’m not going to lie - it’s overwhelming.  Linking, tagging, liking, following, replying, retweeting and on and on and on.  It’s enough to drive you insane.  While many people view social media as a necessity in day-to-day life, others may think it’s a mindless waste of time or scary.  Believe it or not, there are many silver linings that can benefit a variety of causes – including public broadcasting.

170_million_americansIn January 2011, there was word that public broadcasting was at risk for losing federal funding – which would’ve had a deep negative impacted stations all across the country. Immediately jumping into action was 170 Million Americans, a partnership of more than 400 public television and radio stations, national organizations and producers.  The group built a beautiful website and created Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites. They even created a really cool infographic (my latest marketing nerd obsession) that visually explains the business of public broadcasting.  These platforms were implemented for the sole purpose of educating the country about the high value of public broadcasting AND actions they could take to support the cause.  Supporters were able to input their zip code on the website to find who their local and state representatives were and send an email directly in support of public broadcasting. 

The result?  Federal funding continued.

Thanks to social media, I can see what top news stories are in my hometown in Indiana, view a friend’s photos in London and video chat with my brother in Chicago.  Oh yea, and I can help support public broadcasting too.  Thank you technology for making the world a smaller place.

How has social media become your silver lining?  Please let us know by commenting!  Also, check out the video below for some more amazing facts about social media.

Social Media Revolution 2011

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