Why a Social Media Day?

Do we need another Hallmark-ufactored holliday?

Do we need to make another guilt trip to a drugstore at the last minute to buy a card as an appeasement for not calling or paying enough attention to: _____(fill in blank: Mom, Dad, Lover, turkey...)

No, we don't.

But, Social Media Day, as it happens is not a Hallmark day but a Mashable day (and we're not talking potatos here).  It sprung from the creative and entrepreneurial brain of Peter Cashmore, founder of  Mashable, one of the preminent social media resources and blogs on the internet.

Admittedly, I was a bit cynical when I first heard about this idea.  The new media community can tend to be a bit self absorbed; sometimes degenerating into one big circle jerk with early adopters and social media marketing gurus backslapping each other over clicks and followers.

However, I believe social media will change the world. The bigger picture is that it affects more than marketing and new technologies. So I'm happy to hype it even more.

Tonight there will be over 600 Mashable Meetings happening in over 93 countries in the world.  Social media affectionados will get to meet their media mates in person to:

"...acknowledge and celebrate the revolution of media becoming social. A day that honours the technological and societal advancements that have allowed us to have a dialogue, to connect and to engage not only the creators of media, but perhaps more importantly, one another." @Vadim Lavrusik (Mashable)

In a recent blog post Mike Laurie lists some of the ways that we have been changed: (paraphrased)

1. Child literacy: The National Literacy Trust observed a correlation between children’s engagement with social media and their literacy.

2. Ambient Intimacy: Lisa Reichelt, a user experience consultant in London coined the very pleasant term “ambient intimacy.” It describes the way in which social media allows you to “… keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.”

3. Knowledge Was Power: The more you understand about life, the more chance you have at success. These days, Wikipedia and Google have democratized information to the point where anyone is able to acquire the knowledge they may want.

4. The Reinvention of Politics: Social networks may be encouraging younger people to get involved in politics. You only need look at Twitter’s recent impact on the Iran elections, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and even the election of Barack Obama to see that more and more people are getting involved in politics and are feeling they can make a difference.

5. Marketing Flux: Marketing and advertising is transforming itself from an industry reliant on mass market channels to one which must embrace the power of the consumer and engage in conversations.

6. News as Cultural Currency: We’re no longer lazy consumers of passive messages. Instead we’re active participants. We now get news through the network we’ve created, and the news we pass to one another says something about us.

There are skeptics out there that think this whole social media thing is just hype and will be replaced by the next big thing.

Yes, it is hyped and if you're like me, that was a put-off.  However, as the saying goes, "don't cut off your nose to spite your face". 

The truth is that social media is changing your world whether you are listening or not.

How has it changed your life?

I'd Love to Change the World -Ten Years After