Facebook, Blogs and Twitter: Social Media Wins the Race

Last year marked a turning point in the history of social media tools. While their growth until then had been nothing short of spectacular, they were still being treated like the precocious youngest child of a large family: smart, cute and fun to have around — but still too immature to be taken seriously.

Then along came a guy named Barack Obama, and suddenly everyone wanted to be in on the game. He leveraged social technologies to raise more money than any presidential candidate in history — close to $1 billion by most estimates — and used text messages, networks, wikis and blogs to connect with legions of far-flung volunteers and supporters.

This unprecedented interactive capability allowed Obama’s campaign to deploy resources where they did the most good. And while John McCain struggled to master his inbox, the president-to-be was convincing voters they didn’t want to be led by someone so far behind the technological curve.

Thanks to President Obama, social media finally is being taken seriously. Now, companies everywhere are asking themselves if they should be getting social, too. Whatever sector you’re in, should you be green-lighting blogging, podcasting and Facebook applications?

My advice: definitely. But only if you’re willing to do it right.

Recent data from Forrester Research points to a serious uptick in social technology adoption. For example, while 56 percent of American adults used social tools to connect with each other in 2007, that figure ballooned to 75 percent in 2008. Twitter, meanwhile, grew…


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