Getting Doubly Social

Social Media is more than just a buzzword. It could be a passing fad just like some ‘experts’ speculate, or the next big wave (for those who don’t already feel it). I’m no expert neither do I enjoy speculating. However, as I write this piece for Blogadda, I’m sure that you, the reader, have moved to a point far ahead from the one where you exclaimed ‘aw3s0m3!’ (a geeky way to  express that adrenaline rush on seeing a neat digital phenomena) looking at videos sharing social media statistics.

What probably started as a medium to rate women on campus has now evolved into a medium that allows you to communicate and meet them in addition to others. It allows you to market, converse, share and learn, manage customer relationship, overcome geographic constraints… and the list keeps on growing every day. The wise enthusiast is always on her toes trying to keep up with the trends, while the medium continuously evolves to reach out to more than just those on the Internet. It keeps on getting more inclusive every day.

Speaking of inclusivity The Joy Of Giving Week is one such initiative that uses social influence to invite people across the nation to become socially responsible citizens and is driven on the basis of trust. The fundamentals of the modus operandi of this initiative overlap with the foundations of ‘social media’ to a great extent, even though it is medium agnostic. The twiterati on 26/11 played a crucial role in disseminating real time, authentic information as opposed to the hyped up new on national TV. In fact one of the largest offline peace gatherings of over 200,000 citizens was facilitated and coordinated over twitter, facebook and SMSes post the 26/11 attack at the Gateway of India. The recent Meter JAM initiative organized by a few Mumbaikars to ‘straighten’ the auto rickshaw drivers once again coordinated via social tools, influencing prospective participants for a social cause (one that could benefit those travelling via auto rickshaws in MumbaI). Twestival is another example of a community driven , trust based, global initiative of using social media for social benefit. More recently is my own attempt at playing a small part improving the lives of underprivileged children via aTEEtude of Giving that was conceived in Sep 2009.

The common thread running through the examples above is the fact that they are all doubly social or as Gaurav Mishra says #social squared – they use social media/influence for social benefit. The key value proposition of the ‘social media phenomenon’, for me, is the network of trust that lies at its foundation and its ability to self moderated and self sustain to a great extent. The network of trust has shrunk our worlds into villages- everybody seems to know everybody else. This is what facilitates social workers, NGOs, campaigns and initiatives to overcome the inhibitions caused otherwise by the lack of trust from prospective donors, volunteers and well wishers. This makes the medium or the concept easier to understand for the aam aadmi. It also adds more meaning to the otherwise frivolous exchange of links, and more importantly transform the participant’s expression from ‘aw3s0m3’ to a warm and human ‘awesome!’

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