Before social media came into existence, many of the things said on today’s blogs, Tweets, and other various social media venues, were said by word of mouth. Messages can become viral by word of mouth up to a point, but how accurate are these messages? Do you remember playing the game “Telephone”, where the message ended up totally different than the original statement? Then again how accurate is what is placed on the Internet?
An excellent example how Tweeter has affected people two years ago is the Arab Spring. The 140 character texts chimed out to thousands and thousands of people during that time. How many people it affected was totally amazing. Lest we forget Facebook was widely used during this time as well. Both of these social media sites also helped people worldwide have a distinct indicator of what was going on in the region.
This effect that social media had on multiple nations and its people, was noticed by businesses. It actually propelled the area of business into a new age. The age where there are immediate photos, voice bits, videos, and phone calls, which now have become the norm. We now have a worldwide society that addresses all markets, and the numerous people who are in them in real -time.
A recent example of social media affecting people and bringing their world to you in real-time, is the Boston Bombing. People Tweeted pictures, video, and sound bites to television media, in a matter of moments, maybe even nano-seconds. The FBI, Homeland Security, and the Boston Police had instant fodder to work with in trying to get the culprits. One man in Waterdown, Massachusetts took pictures and video on his balcony of the firefight that was going on in front of his apartment. He then flew into his bedroom for cover, but lifted his smartphone up to his window and continued to take pictures. These were later used for network and cable television news as well as information for the law enforcement people.
How has social media infected the Internet and the stock market? One incident that occurred recently was a hoax done in poor taste. It was claimed on Tweeter that President Obama was bombed in the Whitehouse. The stock market got hold of this information and for an hour the stock market numbers plummeted. The perpetrator was found and dealt with swiftly. Luckily, the stock market bounced back within an hour. It was an hour of hell for investors with mega-bucks to lose.
How does one prevent being infected like this again? Can a society who yearns for real-time information wait for social media to do some fact checking? Tweeter suspended this infectious account and provided information to the police, but serious damage had already been done. Billions of dollars had been traded for significant losses. Perhaps news like this if not caught in a short time frame does not only infect businesses in North America, but relationships abroad as well. After all in the Arab Spring social media not only brought protestors out into the streets, it toppled governments.
One thing is for sure is this shows people are more engaged than ever before on social media. How does one affect a new market area without accidently infecting social media with superfluous and potentially noxious information?