How Social Media is Teaching Us to Give Again


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The gift of giving

Back in the 80?s, there was the yuppie movement. Short for “young upwardly mobile professional”, the term represented everything that was bad about greed and personal selfishness.

That’s not to say that all yuppies were greedy, but generally the majority stood for all the negative aspects of capitalism gone mad.

It was a case of “I’m in it for what I can get and only for me” – basically looking to see where the next big deal would come from and who cares if someone gets screwed over in the process. This malaise may have continued if it hadn’t been for the massive stock market crash of October 19, 1987 – Black Monday.

The result of this crash was that the whole money-over-everything attitude pretty much disappeared as humility and stark reality took over. For the next few years, it seemed as if people had learned lessons and were instead using an “I’ll succeed by helping others” approach.

Yet over the last few years, particularly in corporate America and the UK, the greed factor of the 80?s seemed to be creeping back in. Large companies and the CEO’s that presided over them seemed to be more about what could be taken from the company. Just Google the likes of Enron, WorldCom, Barings Bank and BCCI for examples.

The result? Today’s financial mess. Companies that were propped up by false reports crashing down to Earth. Leaders without a clue – or with bulging wallets after kickbacks – allowing the economy to disappear into a meltdown situation.

So, getting back to my opening statement, why does it all remind me of social media?

Simple – because social media has the opportunity to show how to really build a business model that we can all benefit from. Instead of being out to get everything we can, social media is helping and encouraging growth with other like-minded people.

Users of social media sites are using their blogs to offer free advice and tips to help other users succeed. They’re organizing podcamps and similar seminars (offline as well as online) to ensure that everyone is getting the most out of this new medium. They’re openly discussing do’s and don’ts in forums and chatrooms. Simply put, they’re being social.

The result of this is that there are more people with the knowledge and confidence to go into business for themselves, knowing that they’ve built up a wonderful network of contacts that they can fall back on for advice. Or they’re taking this new-found knowledge and support network back to their full-time jobs and increasing their use to the relevant company.

No longer is it, “I can’t help you” – now it’s “I can’t help you but I know someone that can”. And as social media continues to mature with a wider audience, this network of help, knowledge and encouragement will only get stronger and more relevant.

Now if only the people that make the decisions would join the party…

image: Andy Woo

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown is partner at Bonsai Interactive Marketing, a full service agency offering integrated, social media and mobile marketing solutions. He is also founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a social media-led charity initiative connecting globally and helping locally.


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