Social media provides an opportunity to connect unfettered by time or distance. We can rekindle old friendships and discover new communities of like minded people. It's a medium for people to reach out and help each other beyond their immediate physical community.
Social media is a powerful communication tool for businesses and especially those of us engaged in creative ventures. Having a social media presence is essential for the modern musician to find and build a community to consume and support their music. The old music business model of signing with a record label and having them build and control the fan relationship is all but dead.
For better or worse, social media is becoming the primary source of news about what is happening in our community and beyond. Citizen journalism provides an unfiltered immediacy to news but is destroying traditional journalism and eliminating fact checking and balance in reporting. It is increasingly difficult to determine what is real and what is fabricated to try to influence our thoughts and opinions. Social media provides an easier opportunity for special interest groups and individuals to influence public opinion.
To view the dark, ugly side of social media, look at the comments on a post by a leading political figure. Insult trolling is becoming an art form and ideological battles are waged continuously on social media. Most discussions degenerate to insult and name calling. There is little room for the subtleties of face to face human conversation as people hide anonymously behind their avatar.
The most insidious aspect of social media is it's appetite for our time and attention. A moment consuming social media can quickly becomes minutes and hours. Engagement in the virtual world interferes steals our time and attention from family and friends.
I'm working at being more strategic with social media strategy. Compartmentalizing the time I spend on the various platforms, learning tools to be more efficient with my engagement and trying to be more of a content creator rather than just a content consumer. I utilize Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Soundcloud but this almost feels like too many.
I'm interested to hear how you manage your engagement with social media - what platforms you use and how you use them.