Sarah Gee - partner

Hello World: The power of social media

Posted by Sarah Gee - partner on 31st January 2012

Occasionally, when I’m having breakfast, I switch on the TV to see what’s happening in the world. Usually I regret it, as early morning television seems to have the ability of raising my blood pressure in a way that even John Humphrys cannot bring about.

This morning was no different: two inane presenters wittering on about why social media was self-centred, was a drain on the UK economy as we all Facebook on work time, and how we’re all more concerned about being glued to a computer screen or mobile phone than meeting people face to face. And later today John Tate, the BBC’s Head of Policy and Strategy, has suggested that people should not be able to tweet or Facebook during key BBC programmes: ““Interactivity has its place but you don’t want to overdo it – shows like Sherlock and Frozen Planet on the BBC are very intense for the viewer and need people not to be distracted.” The full report of his comments is here

Although I’ve heard these digi-phobic views many times before, they struck home today and rankled because I simply couldn’t disagree more. I’m probably preaching to the converted here because you are reading a blog which you found through a Twitter or Facebook post, but as an illustration, here’s what social media has done for me in the last few weeks:

• Enabled me to say goodbye to a former colleague who’s since passed away
• Kept me in touch with friends and family while away from home by posting photos and stories of travels and travails
• Won two bits of new business for Indigo
• Reunited me with a dear friend after an 18 year gap
• Alerted me to funding opportunities for clients
• Shared some wonderful gossip (I wish I could tell but, well…)
• Introduced me to three people in ‘real life’ that I’ve been talking to online for years and really respect
• Made me laugh and cry – more of the former, thankfully

And so much more, including happily watching Question Time with one eye on my Twitter stream.

At a time when HM Government is thinking about things that should be built into a national happiness index, I’m wondering if we should offer up social media as a key element in the 21st century? And while we’re at it, will someone please tell Auntie?

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