Is Social Media Over?

“Social media is over,” said James Franco at a recent nonprofit benefit. The actor and write received much attention for live tweets sent out during his co-hosting duties at the Oscars. However, after just a few months of being on Twitter, he’s said that he’s looking to spend less time on the service.

Is Franco right? Will social media be another online fad to be eventually forgotten like our Geocities home pages and AOL chat rooms? With over 600 million Facebook members and 155 million tweets posted every day, it’s not hard to look at the statistics and balk at James Franco’s prediction. However, as a Geek Squad Agent who helps the public with their technology every day, I see a more fundamental proof that social media is here to stay: the simple human need to share our experiences.

Human society is built around sharing experiences. Much of our technology is built around improving the speed and reach that sharing can take. From the printing press, to books, telephones, newspapers, television, and the Internet, our ability to share what we’ve seen, heard or felt has only improved over time.

Geek Squad founder and Best Buy Chief Technology Officer Robert Stephens recently found out just how far one person can reach with some basic social media technology. While driving to work, he came across a gas main fire shooting flames several stories into the air. He was able to capture footage of the fire on his smartphone and quickly edit and upload video and photos from his tablet to his twitter feed.

In an article about his experience, Stephens gives a number of tips for others looking to become their own citizen journalist. By including calls to news organizations like @CNN and @MSNBC in his tweets, he was able to quickly get their attention, and his photos and video soon made it into local and national news feeds.

This example shows how an individual can have a larger reach through social media, but what about large companies? Other than just being another channel that they can spread their message through, what does social media offer an organization that print, radio or television can’t?

Robert Stephens has an answer for that as well. In a recent interview, he talked about how social media can help a large, worldwide organization like Best Buy and Geek Squad act like a small company. The way they do this is by using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to individuals on a 1 to 1 basis.

For examples of these interactions, consider that any one of our 20,000 Geek Squad Agents worldwide can provide technology advice for someone with WiFi issues via our Twelpforce Twitter account, or help with decisions on what type of laptop would serve them best through our Geek Squad Facebook page. And all of this knowledge is being saved for helping others through the BBYFeed website.

It’s this ability to have this worldwide reach for your message, while simultaneously having individual interactions on a scaled basis, that help drive the daily growth social media tools see every week. And this growth, despite what Stephen Franco may believe, certainly indicates that social media will be a tool that individuals and organizations will use for a long time to come.

Just like we say in Twelpforce, if you need us, tweet us!

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