Social Media Ate My Brain

I’m on LinkedIn – regular visitors to my blog (oooooooh, matron, fetch the side-stapler, I may have done myself a mischief) will know this, as I may occasionally have mentioned the fact. I’m a great fan of the questions bit, because, from time to time, there’s something useful. What follows is not useful, but it does illustrate some points. Here’s the question:

“So-called “social media” is a great way to reach very tech savvy audiences. But the reality is that millions and millions of people are not reached by online tools like MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. How is your nonprofit reaching those who are not reached by social media, whether that’s people locally in your geographic area or audiences on a larger scale? How are you recruiting volunteers, reaching new clients, and reaching potential new donors who are not reached by MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.?”

And here’s a couple of answers. First, one with a slight social media evangelist bias:

Using so called “social media” translates right away that you are not a fan of it
There is a difference between social media andthe social media networks which LI/FB and Twitter are only part of them
It doesn’t need a high tech person to be on FB or myspace, it has been proven that FB is getting gray
According to Pew Internet& American Life project in a report done March 18,2009, there is a jump of Users Ages 70+:
70-74 Years: 26% (‘05)- 45% (‘08)
75+ Years: 17% (‘05)- 28% (‘08)
MSNBC also had a report about how grand parents are on FB now so it doesnt really take a tech savvy to be on a SM network, all what it takes is to know how to sign in with a user name and password exactly as someone does with Emails signing and I believe that everyone agrees that people from all ages use Emails now
Anyhow this being said, you can reach people that are not on the internet by the traditional channels of marketing: flyers, postcards, letters, ads in local newspapers and magazines, having a radio interview in a local radio channel, newsletters, posters …”

And then there’s one with a little more – well – realism, when you come down to it.

“Well, my 80 year old father is a bit of a Linux hacker – I guess you get that way if you remember when mainframes had vacuum tubes…
Google “cincom” sometime…
Anywho, I think that one of the largest hurdles for “social media” (whatever the heck you want to call it – you can split hairs, but if someone says “social media,” I at least have an idea of what they’re talking about…) is…
BANDWIDTH
Your urban folks don’t have a problem – IF they can afford to set-up the hook-up…
The people it won’t touch are folks without computers/internet, and folks in rural areas… If you’re in the boonies, you either pay about $70 or so a month for satellite, or you sit waiting for your service provider’s messed-up hardware to figure out what it’s going to do… or maybe it’s the phone folks… Jen’s father has a dial-up connection. With a 56k modem, the best it gets is in the high 20s… And that’s with dialing a variety of different numbers (they use AOL, and I tried numbers from nearby to into the St. Louis metro area). Tried two modems – One a windoze modem, and the other a decent USR – same results.
There are also your basic luddites – they just don’t care.
Combined, I’ll guess that the “no net” folks probably are darn near 50% or more of the population.”

So, dearest blog snorkellers, what lessons can we extrapolate from today’s sermon? Firstly, we can get a grip on ourselves, and recognise that internet penetration – globally – sits at about 26%. (Fair enough, in the US it’s 74% and in Europe it’s 52%, I know). This means that, globally, only one in four people has the capability – never mind inclination or time – to access social media. The real penetration of social media is much, much lower. Some will bleat on about the US and European stats – where still one in four and one in two do not have social media capability, mind – and say that social media is of genuine importance in these markets. Isn’t that horrendously elitist? Tantamount to saying that only the US and Europe matter? And isn’t it just a little stupid, also?

Which brings me to the second learning for today. Judging by the use of language, the grammar, the syntax and the general presentation of (not just) these posts, plus the quality of some of the arguments they put forward, I can but conclude one thing.

Social media, quite obviously, eats your brain and turns you into a sub-spongiform cretin.

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