The Evolution of Social Media

The person who initially introduced me to social media in 2005 just announced that he is quitting Facebook.

He is not the first person I know who has expressed that the sugar high of social media has crashed. In fact, for the past couple of years, I have been going through my own highs and lows. Considering I made social media my career choice I could not just quit. Instead, I have been forced to think through what is going on in me, in society, and in business and what I want to do about it.

During a business meeting a couple of years ago I was asked what my contingency plan was after social media peaked. I tried to explain that I was anxiously waiting for that day to come so we can get down to the real business of social media.

You see, the creation of social media is very much like the discovery of how to make fire. Stay with me here.

fireI can imagine the first man who figured out how to make fire. To everyone around him, and probably to him, it seemed like magic. Very quickly his tribe recognized that the ability to create fire would change everything. I bet the “fire makers” of the tribe were highly compensated. I can also imagine there were people in the tribe who were afraid of the fire and thought that people should not use fire.

I can imagine the many experiments the tribes attempted with fire. I wonder how many people were burned, and how many fires spread beyond the control of the tribe. It must have been an exciting and dangerous time.

As time passed, more and more people learned how to create fire and fire became no big deal anymore. Everyone moved on. But did humanity stop using fire? Of course not. We just use fire now when it makes sense to. Are there still fire specialists? Yes! They blow beautiful glass creations, cook wonderful meals, or save our property from being destroyed.

Just like fire no longer seems like magic, many of us are no longer thrilled with the magic of social media. But that does not mean social media is going away. No. We are just going to use the tools that help us do what we want to do instead of expecting the tools to do magic for us.

So where does that leave me as a social media consultant? Well, there are still many people who are just learning what all these tools are and I expect that will continue to be the case for at least a couple of years. However, when I show people these tools I get the most joy from seeing their creativity unleashed, new relationships discovered, and newfound courage developed.

I love empowering people and that is how I will continue to use social media and the ever-growing number of digital tools. Just like a glass blower uses fire to shape glass I will use social media to help people shape their dreams.