Social media, also known as Web 2.0, is like water and fire. Both can be use in constructive and destructive ways.
First things first… back in the day, the only form of interactivity online was through forums. In any forum we had and still have a community of users, moderators, and admins and there were questions, and answers, discussions and content posts engaging anybody interested to participate. The forums worked by having a community of registered users.
What do we have with social media? Well, there is a community of users and content generated by users. This is social media or what is also called Web 2.0. But, I hear you asking: I understand, this is 2.0 but what is 1.0? Is it worth knowing?
Aha, yes. Back in the day, when the websites were not many, the search engines had to find a way to categorize websites. For example, let’s say that two lawyers in New York, having two different
websites would like to own the first position in Google for the key phrase “new york lawyer”. So how the search engines to choose which should be the first of them? This is just an example,
maybe is not the best that you got the whole picture.
And then was invented what is called Web 1.0, the easy to categorize websites through the page rank. The page rank is between 0 and 10 and means how relevant is a website for a certain keywords. You know, a search engine becomes relevant if it shows you the right information when looking for it, so Google would make the best using its algorithms to decide which of the two websites should be showed as first.
Initially the page rank was built from the number of backlinks one website had from other sources and of course how relevant are those sources. So if one of the websites had 50 backlinks and the
other 60, the latter would be listed first. This was the basic principle and of course, after that moment appeared a lot of companies offering services to build the page rank for your website. But
overall, this is what we call web 1.0.
Still today the page rank counts and is a relevant metric when analyzing a website just that social media made some waves in the process.
The first website to be called Web 2.0 is Wikipedia which is the biggest online database built entirely by the users. The listings and data are moderated because, Wikipedia needs to be and stay
relevant, so the information has to be accurate.
I would say that social media is technology, state of the art technology offering the leverage of having the signal multiplied to more users. To illustrate what social media can do, let’s look at this example:
We are 10 people in a room and invite David Beckham to make a demonstration of his football skills.
Well, 10 people will enjoy the demo. Imagine the same thing broadcasted live on MTV from the same room. 10 people and millions of viewers will attend this.
Or, the same broadcast on YouTube of through a Facebook page with few million likes … you got the picture.
Social media is an amplifier. If the message is good, it will be a good message leveraged by the access to a lot of eyeballs. If the message is bad, through the leverage it can be a disaster and can put a company even out of business.