Social media is taking over the world… and I like it!
Remember the days when you’d lovingly handwrite a letter, pop a stamp on it and send it off on an adventure across land or sea, ready to be opened by the lucky recipient when it arrived? No, me neither. I grew up surrounded by emerging technology – I got my first mobile phone at 15, which was swiftly confiscated by my horrified mother when she received a bill for £70. Texts replaced phone calls and face-to-face conversations as the communication du jour. Letters? Pah.
When MySpace surfaced, I was in my first year of university and my laptop and I were developing a meaningful relationship. For the next two years, it was all about comments and friend counts. Then Facebook came along and we swiftly moved on, with cries of ‘MySpace is for teenagers! We’re on Facebook now.’
After graduating I started working as a copywriter in a digital advertising agency. In 2007 social media was just a whisper in marketing circles. ‘It’ll never work like Direct Mail’, some said. Even I was sceptical of Twitter. My first tweet was ‘is wondering what the hell Twitter is all about.’
But in the last few years, brands have indulged in a love affair with social media. Well, you can’t blame them. Supermarkets can connect with potential customers while they eat their tea. The fashion brands go wild at the end of the month, encouraging just-paid stylish girls to blow their mortgage money on the latest lines. And we lap it up, because in between their marketing messages, clever brands have built up a relationship with us by telling tales from the office, asking us questions and making us feel generally special. Very sneaky.
Of course, it can go horribly wrong. But even total technophobes can’t deny the potential power behind a humble tweet. Whether you’re plugging a product, spreading a message or just want the world to know what you’re up to, social media is the quickest, fastest and simplest way to share something with a large number of people.
Now I give out my Twitter handle (@_alittlebird if you’re interested) rather than my email address. I Facebook my friends rather than calling them. When someone asked me to fax over some information I gave them a cold stare that would send the most computer-illiterate person running for a Gmail account. When it comes to communication, 140 characters is quite enough for me.