Guest Voz: Social media is the next step in the evolution of human communication

LatinaLista — Thursday, June 30, 2011 was the first Social Media Day. Yet, for anyone who uses social media, every day is social media day. For Latinos, that is especially true.

Bryan_Gonzalez headshot main (2-15-11).jpgWhile studies show that Latinos lag behind in broadband connections, we more than make up for it with smart phones. And it’s through our phones where we incorporate social media into our everyday activities.

Bryan Gonzalez, director of the social entertainment lab at the Entertainment Technology Center @ USC

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare, Latinos are taking the lead as early adopters of social media.

One Latino who is a heavy user of social media is Bryan Gonzalez. Gonzalez is the director of the social entertainment lab at the Entertainment Technology Center @ USC (ETC@USC).

Social media is a topic he’s passionate about and one that he cautions people to stop thinking of as a fad but understand that social media is the next step in the evolution of human communication.

 

By Bryan Gonzalez

According to a study by Edicon Research, 51% of Americans over the age of 12 are on Facebook. Does this mean that social networks should still be considered just a fad?

We’ve reached the point where social networking is accepted as a legitimate platform that people use to connect with one another. Methods for connecting people have evolved from handwritten messages, to the telephone, to email and even texting. These have all been technological steps allowing people to reach each other in an instant.

Social media represents the next evolution in connecting people, moving beyond the simple message, allowing people to connect on a more personal and present way.

Moving beyond the one-to-one message, social media allows people to share and learn from their circle of friends with little effort. The evolution of communication in our personal lives greatly influences how we see the world around us.

Many of us first learned about the earthquake in Japan or the death of Osama Bin Laden, not through traditional news channels, but through a friend’s Facebook wall post or Tweet. This shift in how we discover new information has a profound impact on how we consume everything from news, to entertainment, to physical products.

The real strength of social media lies in discovery and influence. A person’s close social circle behaves as a filter that presents them with the best news, content, and ideas.

Entertainment is a great example of what will thrive in the future social media landscape. ShareThis, a company that created a web plugin that allows for easy sharing, says that 65% of Facebook shared content is entertainment related. The water-cooler conversation about TV shows and movies has moved to the online world, inviting a large group of people to participate in the dialogue.

Software developers are hard at work exploring the best way to leverage the social media conversations and turn them into entertainment opportunities. By using the trust people have with their social media circle, an entertainment experience can be enhanced by allowing a person’s social network to participate.

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