Baraka Blog

Growing thoughts

Social Media 101

What’s new in technology & media?social media

Social media is the new game in town. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, you’re probably already using it. Facebook, youtube, twitter, myspace, peoplepress, blogger .. to name a few, are social media sites that you have come across, or use regularly.

What is social media?

Online social media, is a category of New Media. Wikipedia defines social media as information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies that is intended to facilitate communications, influence and interaction with peers and with public audiences.

Do Arabic online social communities exist?

The region is witnessing an average online growth rate of 1100% between 2000 and 2008, the highest growth rate worldwide. While much of the online community in the region interacts in English, a sizable portion uses Arabic to interact on predominately English sites (ex. facebook users messaging in Arabic) and slightly fewer interact on exclusively Arabic sites (jeeran.com and kooora.com).1

How different is it from websites and web portals?

Although many sites are increasingly more dynamic, offering video and animations, syndicating content from other sources, and providing comment fields for visitors to leave information, the user experience remains largely a passive one. The site owner’s role changes from that of content generator, to a content moderator. Social community sites put the user in the driver’s seat; the user generates content.

How is it evolving?

Online social communities began with a general purpose; a platform for users to connect to others and share their content. From photo sharing, to slide sharing, and thought sharing (blogging). As sites and their users matured, the community started segmenting, moving towards specialized micro-communities with focused content. From mega portals, to focused content specific portals, from blogs, to micro-blogs.

Is it used for business?

As social media segmentation grew, it caught the eye of marketing professionals in mainstream industries. The ability to dialogue with customers, and to advertise to very focused target markets was highly attractive. Established mainstream industries began using social communities to engage their stakeholders. Businesses such as Dell changed their online presense from a content portal driven by internal product development and marketing departments to a community driven site where customers drive the Dell product development lifecycle.

Is it for everybody?

While there are no age limits, the largest segment from this region has been youth and young professionals (ages 13 to 30), a generation that grew up on technology and is well versed in using media gadgets. This segment of the population is comfortable with sharing information publicly, and is more likely to make purchasing decisions based on peer recommendations through viral marketing. Parents, educators and employers are struggling to keep up with their children, students and employees who are spending 16 – 20 hours a week online. Whether you are head of household, school, university or place of work, chances are your young community members are already using social media.

Should you join?

Adoption is the only option! and the sooner you join the better, especially if you have a child, a student or an employee hooked on social media. Join the online social community and start building your knowledge of this virtual reality. There are many highly useful applications of social media. The more you know about these applications, the better you are able to guide and influence the use of social media in your immediate community.

———————————————————–

1. Alexa.com, http://www.internetworldstats.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: