Social Media Affecting Lives There is no doubt that social media is expanding drastically in the world, yet this change is not only related to technology and the internet. Social Media is revolutionizing every aspect of our lives. The aim of this document is to summarize some of the important headlines mentioned in the conference that took place in the “American University of Beirut” on Friday, December 16, 2011.
The conference went over how social media is changing fields such as education, culture, business, media and journalism, music and art, NGOs, politics, religion, human rights, science, the environment and the personal lives of everyone who is using them. The conference has gathered some remarkable influencers from the Arab Community; it was rich in the speakers and topics discussed. One of the speakers was the British Ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, who began his discussion by stating that social media can play a big role in highlighting and challenging human rights abuses.
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His main points were: 1. Marc Zuckerberg and Steve jobs have impacted people more than did Georges Bush and Osama Bin Laden 2. Social media can be used to get people’s voices heard as they travel must faster online. 3. It can also be used to support the values we believe in versus the forces that oppose those values. This can all be done through social media, and he also discussed that no matter what the boundaries the government put on the internet and tries to manipulate and suppress people, internet always tends to overpass these boundaries.
Quote: “if you pull a wall around our internet, we’ll build another internet around your wall”. During Tom Fletcher’s discussion, the number of active participants who were online in the hall was remarkably noticed. Attendees were able to interact with the speaker as well with other attendees through screens showing live twitter feeds. To Tom Fletcher, the number of people playing with their mobile devices was a welcome sign of engagement rather than disengagement. Another speaker of the day was a Marketing instructor from the AUB, Mrs.
Leila Khawli Hanna. She discussed that consistency is the main key when using social media. Twitter has become a pre-requisite for one of her courses; she states that as we develop in our humanity, we meet a lot of people who are somehow shy in engaging or defending their opinions. Mrs. Hanna faces this issue in her daily classes at the university and thus came up with a way to include a screen (with the class page opened) in her class that shows live feeds from the learners.
For her, twitter has been proven to intensely improve learners’ participation; even if certain learners were absent on the lecture’s day, they were still able to follow the lecture through tweeting. This has opened a way to increase the interaction whether between her and her learners or between the learners themselves. She communicates a difference between people who follow a management with a digital strategy and those with a social strategy. * Digital strategy Tackles Company will tail * Social strategy Tackles people increases sales, performance, etc… by connecting people together.
It creates a community that takes the offline and put it online. Doing it that way will sometimes increase outputs, means and performance. Social media can be risky (having data constantly online available for unethical behaviors), therefore consistency is very important. Some other points of the day: * Farid Chehab from Leo Burnett MENA tackled the impact of social media on activism, stating that while social networks are good at initiating & supporting public causes and mobilizing people, it proves less efficient in the long term.
This view was echoed during the Social Media in Business panel. The panel placed great emphasis on the positive impact of social media on businesses, it warned however of “one time hit” (social media campaigns) versus maintained success and stressed the difficulty of continuous engagement with customers. Nevertheless, Farid Chehab followed the online community and published his book on the web (www. pari-rihan. org) for those readers who, having a book in the hand is not a pleasant thing. Ziad Kamel, founder and CEO of the Alleyway group talked about the impact of social media in Food/Beverage business. Before social media, 1 unhappy customer tells 7 people. After social media, 1 unhappy customer tells infinity of people. * Yorgui Keyrouz, founder and action president of “Donner Sang Compter” organization also discussed the way he uses the social media to spread the word for needed blood. He stated that after going online, his organization was able to help in saving people’s lives more than they ever imagine they would.
Some statistics from the day: * 27. 3 million users on Facebook * 1. 9 million user on Twitter * 100 million viewed youtube videos every day * 77% of Facebook users have liked a brand through FB * 50% received customer service via Twitter At the end, social media is here to stay so better use it and benefit from it in a way to increase the volume of the different aspects in our lives, as this volume is diminishing in the real world. Quote: “If you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. “