Social Media and the World

Today's post doesn't involve social media tips or blogging tips for your small business. Today I want to reflect on how social media impacts our world using one story, "The Man With The Golden Voice" as the main reference point. I know...I am late to the game. After all it has been 3 days. Before I make my point, you should probably understand the story. You have likely picked up bits and pieces of the Ted Williams story in water cooler discussion and maybe already have seen the videos. If not take a second to watch...go ahead, I'll wait.

Back? Ok, let's move on. The video alone is impressive...but it's the aftermath of what happened that is amazing.

Viral

When something goes viral on the net it merely means that it becomes extremely popular in a short period of time, generally through social sharing. There a many YouTube videos that go viral for one reason or another, but generally not without the help of other social outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. There are posts upon posts using #GoldenVoice, #TedWilliams and #HomelessMan talking about the videos and also several Facebook "Like" pages, not to mention people posting the video on their personal Facebook pages helping the video go viral. With the cohesiveness of so many social channels, the ability for something to go viral is much more attainable. However, don't expect a video to go viral...the percentage that do compared to uploaded is very low. A video has to have "something" for it to go viral, you can't force it.

Viral Was Good for Ted Williams

A little bit more on the back story of Ted. He had worked in radio previously and had a life before being homeless, but drugs and alcohol took over and changed life as he knew it. Despite having issues in the past, although still homeless, Ted was clean for 2 years prior to the YouTube video.

Not only did the video go viral because it was so impressive to see a homeless man looking the way he did sound like he did. You would not expect that voice to come out of him. The video also went viral because he had a true talent, and people saw that. Ted had job offers in no time after the video including 1 from MSNBC, which he has reportedly accepted, and one from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their were also several other offers including a place to live. The bottom line, this viral video changed this man's life...this time for the good!

So What. Get to Your Point!

Maybe you are already sick of hearing about Ted Williams, so I will get to my point. The fact that social media can turn a persons world upside down is amazing. Don't think that "The Man With The Golden Voice" was the only one to have their life changed by social, it's just my prime example.

The basics of social media have been around since the mid-1990's, roughly 16 years ago. Not that long. Social media as we know it today has been around for even less time. Web 2.0 was coined in 1999, with it's capabilities paving the way for the "new" social. But here is what is shocking to me. YouTube was founded in February of 2005, merely 6 years ago. In a very short amount of time YouTube has become a part of life. If you told me you have never watched a YouTube video, I would have to respectfully doubt that statement. I would believe you if you said you didn't do Facebook or you have never used Twitter...but never watched a YouTube video? A very small minority.

6 years later, YouTube is part of our lives, it is a mainstream form of entertainment and communication and is dramatically helping to change a few people's lives. It's part of small business and large business marketing. Non-profits are using YouTube as a channel for awareness and donation drives. After a very short amount of time, YouTube is huge. Facebook was founded in 2004 and now has more than 500 Million active users. Twitter launched in 2006 and now has more than 190 million users. About 8% of American's use Twitter. If you are a Twitter novice, here are some basics. For something that so many people just don't understand, that is a lot of people! What's next for us? I am excited and scared to see.

So while I didn't provide you tips today, I hope that you walk away from the post reflecting on how social media has changed the world. Prior to social media, what can you think of that could have changed someones life so quickly aside from winning the lottery? How has social media affected you?

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