Like all successful revolutions, it is hard now to remember what it was like before the big changes happened. The new ways of living and working very quickly becomes the norm and accepted as the status quo. The old becomes a distant memory.
I am thinking particularly of the world of social media, which plays such an important role in our day to day lives and increasingly in our national conversations, public policy debates and our discourse. I am reflecting on this today as I prepare to lecture in the morning at Liverpool John Moores University.
Tomorrow’s lecture focuses on the role social media can play in public information campaigns and campaigns from the world’s leading brands. I have been helping teach a course looking at public communications and have been struck over and over again what a transformation social media has brought to the discussion between brand and consumer; governments, public bodies, charities and the public. Even looking back on brilliant campaigns, such as Guinness’ association with Hurling in 2001 – the giants – it feels like a bygone age, without any references to social media. The shift from mostly broadcast communication – the organisation knows best – to interactive, two-way dialogue has been truly transformational and have helped change our expectations of organisations and their relationship with us.
In preparing for the lecture I took a look back over my social media history; blogging since 2008; Tweeting since 2011; Facebooking since 2007; Linking In since 2004 and Instragraming for the last year or so. I have changed my habits and usage of these brilliant tools over the period. I now spend most of my social media time now on Twitter – a news junkie’s heaven – and Instagram whilst still dipping in and out of others. I use them all more selectively and strategically now than I did at one point – hours could easily have been wiled away on Facebook back in the day – and I still regard these platforms and others beside them as forces for good. Any time people are helped to communicate with each other is a good thing in my book – face or otherwise.