We’ve known this for a while now – humans have a need to be social. They have a need to feel seen, heard and valued. They have a need to connect with their fellow humans and a need to feel they are a part of something greater than themselves. Social media platforms happen to be a perfect way to fulfill a lot of those needs. Because of this, and the fact that it is open and readily available to anyone, it tends to attract people from all walks of life. It is a mirror, reflecting back to us the behaviours, views, sentiments, predilections, fears, dreams, and values that are present in the collective human sphere at any given time. Some of those things, when we see them, can cause us utter disgust. Other things might inspire us to change, while others still might comfort us. Social media seems to have become a very useful and valuable tool in self-awareness and personal growth.
“Having knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses gives us the ability to use our strengths at opportune times and work on our weaknesses when we can. As we understand ourselves better, we can also understand others. Through this wisdom and understanding, we uplift each other.”
Despite what we might see, read and hear regularly online, on the television or in the news, we are actually living in the safest time in human history. Over centuries we seem to have evolved to kill each other less and less, while we have done more and more for the safety and health of our fellow humans, in part because it makes us feel good, and also in part because it ensures our own safety and health. Places that were unsafe just a few decades ago have now become a lot more stable and safe.
“Europe has been at peace since 1945, and is now so absent from strife that one can travel freely from one end of the continent to the other without even a passport.”
When we’re at our best, we prefer living in comfort, safety, peace, connectivity, growth and joy. Over the years, we slowly but surely seem to be trying to head in that direction (even if it can seem completely the opposite a lot of the time). However there still remains a lot of work for us to do as a species. Pollution is on the rise, oceans are dying, workers and children are being exploited, temperatures are rising, animals are treated with cruelty, and humans are being trafficked – countless issues are now making their way into the global sphere of awareness, largely due to the internet and its ability to connect people with the world around them. It is becoming glaringly obvious that our actions (or inaction) can and do affect the world around us. Social media has served an important role in making us more conscious, both personally and globally.
Posting articles, sharing links, having conversations – these are all playing a vital role in helping people become more aware of themselves and the issues plaguing the world at large. It is allowing them to become aware of their own feelings, their own limitations, their own fears and desires. It is also allowing them to raise awareness and start doing something about whichever cause they feel inclined to support.
“More than just tweeting, though, social media users actually seemed to be following through with cash donations. As Fatkin and Lansdown report, donations associated with Giving Tuesday were up 90% over the previous year. Beyond charitable giving, the Fatkin and Lansdown paper examined real help that people in trouble gave to each other. A January 29, 2014 snowstorm in Atlanta stranded thousands of motorists, creating dire needs. Atlanta resident Michelle Sollicito created an open Facebook group the night of the storm that more than 50,000 people joined within one day, offering assistance and resources to those in need. Two weeks later, when a second winter storm struck the city, the group was reactivated. Sollicito was hailed as the “Snow Angel of Atlanta,” but she attributed her success entirely to Facebook.”
“Research finds that these latest “social good” trends are leading to a kinder, gentler generation of users. New tech is now almost expected to be making a “social impact” for good.”
What does all of this mean for the future of social media and business at large? Most articles I’ve seen about this subject focus on which innovative technologies to expect, or the use of data to support and verify the success of online marketing campaigns. And while those are and will remain important, I believe the question of why we’re purchasing things, and why we’re using social media in the first place will end up in the spotlight more and more. Since traditional marketing avenues and strategies are growing less effective, businesses will need to adapt and find other ways to connect with their target markets on a deep enough level to keep their attention. They’ll need to offer products and services that fit within this new direction society seems to be taking – the direction of supporting the greater good while minimizing the damages we do both as individuals and as a society.
Transparency, Sustainability, Human Rights, Workers’ Rights, Animal Welfare, Environmental Footprint, Fair Trade, Inclusivity, Organic Foods, Positive Psychology, Health and Fitness, Mindfulness, there seems to be no stopping the absolute barrage of positive changes that are starting to snowball on social media. Industries and businesses are feeling the pressure to change as consumers are becoming more and more aware of the greater impact each of their purchasing decisions hold both personally and globally. People are voting with their time, their money and their attention – social media does a incredible job of offering an in depth glance at their motivations.
Lessons for Others
So what can businesses do to keep up with this new, important, likely (and hopefully) unavoidable paradigm shift on social media? Figuring out what your enterprise is doing right while analyzing what could stand to be updated or improved would be a great first step. Perhaps you sell something small but by the time it ships you’ve managed to use far more packaging than necessary – so you decide to make a change to that internally. This is the perfect thing to share on social media as you can gain the attention of those who place environmental awareness high on their list of priorities who otherwise may have never been in contact with your company. Find ways to share what your company is doing to improve the world and the lives of your customers. Work to generate content that your target markets find supportive, inspirational, and educational. Connect your business’ objectives, products and services with the values of your customers rather than solely focusing on selling. Show them that your company isn’t merely seeking profits, but is actively engaged in trying to improve, benefit and protect the world. Over the coming years, as the population becomes more aware of what will need to change economically, socially and globally, your business will be seen as a valuable resource worthy of coming along for the ride. Because, as it has been said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the ones most responsive to change.”
Name of Organization Contact: Various
Authored by: Cassyp
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