One of the goals of the Social City Dash is get our racers to use a variety of popular social media apps to solve clues and complete challenges. However, one thing we’ve noticed is that despite our attempts to let people know to set up all of their social accounts prior to the race, they are showing up on race day without them. This prompted me to ask the question, “When you see the words “Social” or “Social Media,” do you only think Facebook?
On the day of the Social City Dash, we had a couple teams show up to the race with no Twitter account and a few hadn’t even heard of Vine or Snapchat. Now, it’s understandable to not know how to use some of the apps that were required to complete the Dash challenges. In fact, that was one of our goals. We want to get people comfortable exploring new social apps and maybe even help them learn some tricks. But showing up on race day without taking the step to sign up for some of the accounts at all just baffled me a little.
There’s no doubt that Facebook is the dominant social media site in today’s world. In fact, Pew Research Center found that “over 50% of Internet users either don’t use any social network, or just use one.” And you can safely say that a majority of the people that “use just one” social network, use Facebook. Even my grandparents, as technologically deficient as they are, have Facebook accounts. However, when they overhear me talking about a funny tweet I saw, they ask me why the heck I’m talking about birds. Here’s where my mission comes in. I want to show people that “Social Media” is not just Facebook! Yes, Facebook is part of social media but it’s a small part in the big picture of thousands of social media sites that are out there gaining popularity.
Social networks are great tools that allow you to express yourself and connect with others. One of the wonderful things about social media is that it has no borders. You can connect with people all across the globe who share your same goals and interests. Your profiles allow you to show your personality and your true self, however you choose to express that. Most people use Facebook to stay connected with friends or family and share important things happening in your life. And I bet most of you wouldn’t add someone you didn’t know as a friend on Facebook. I know I wouldn’t. But other social networks, like Twitter and Instagram, allow you to invite people in who you may not know but share interests with. For instance, when I went on vacation to Jamaica earlier this year, I shared some of my pictures with popular hashtags like #Jamaica and #MoBay (short for Montego Bay). By sharing my pictures with these hashtags, I connected with a fellow traveler who was staying at a resort close by. We shared our thoughts on Jamaica and followed each other on Instagram based off our shared love of travel. I also connected with someone who was visiting the following month and after some comments exchanged about the weather she messaged me asking about my experience and if I had any tips for her trip. Same with Twitter, I follow tons of people that I do not know in person but have conversations with about television shows we have in common or shared annoyances. That’s one of the great things about having multiple social accounts. It allows you to personalize your channels and connect with others how you want.
Now, I know a lot of people have a Facebook and that’s all they want. They know that there are other networks out there; they just choose not to use them. That’s fine. That’s the beauty of managing your online presence; you can determine what you want out there. But if you’re promoting a business, blog or just want to connect with more people, you need to explore and take advantage of all of the social networks that are out there. Play around with them and figure out what fits for you and/or your business. I created a Twitter account my freshman year of college but didn’t regularly use it until two years later. I had only used Instagram a handful of times until I used it when applying for my job with McGirr Enterprises. Creating my #WhyHireMe collage sparked my interest in Instagram, which grew into an obsession. It’s all about taking the time to play around and explore ways you can enjoy sharing and connecting with others.
So if you’re looking to sign up for a Social City Dash, please be aware that we will challenge you. You will have to join Vine, Snapchat and maybe even Tumblr. This race is about leveraging your social networks, making new friends and learning new things. However, even if you don’t want to race in the Dash, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new app or two!
With that being said, I have a challenge for you. I want you to think of one social media site, or app, that you do not use or maybe have created an account for but haven’t used yet. I think this goes without being said but it can’t be FACEBOOK! I want you to create an account and actively use the app for a month. If it’s Twitter, I want you to take the 1,000 Tweet Challenge. If it’s Instagram, post a couple pictures a week. Just become an active member of a new network and tell me your thoughts. Did you love it, hate it, meet someone new or share your business with new potential clients? Anything you want, just tell me if it was worth it to step out of the Facebook comfort zone and explore other networks because “Social” is not just Facebook, it’s about being social on any network and any platform.
So…can you do it?