Social Media is Useless for Social Enterprise… I Don’t Think So

Is social media out to dumb down and ruin the fabric of human society?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Nick’s View: Social Entrepreneurs Should Stay Away from Social Media

Nevertheless, Nick Piedmonte, whom I respect as another social enterprise writer, has an interesting view on social media and how it relates to social enterprise and good business ideas.

In his article, Is Social Media Antithetical to the Social Enterprise Movement?, Nick announces that he rebukes social media such as Facebook and Twitter. He claims that social media makes us lose the natural human bonds between us.

He also refuses to use any of it.

My Own Views & Experience with Social Media

I remember a few years ago, like Nick, I also refused to go on the old social media favourites such as the Ringo or Friendster or MySpaces (What ever happened to all of them?). Similar to him, I believed that all these social media sites were all just a “cacophony of mindless chatter.”

Looking back as to how I was influened to even sign up for Facebook, I remember that it was after I had volunteered for the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation in the Philippines. I had met so many wonderful people from all over Australia and the Philippines, who had also volunteered to build homes in slum villages, and when my volunteer experience was wrapping up, I was so keen to keep in contact with all of them. Many of them mentioned that they had Facebook accounts, and they asked me if I had one.

I really wanted to connect with these like-minded people who had now become my friends, and felt that even though we lived in different countries or cities, geography shouldn’t limit my peers and friends. I admit it. That’s how I was influenced to sign up for social media, and that’s why I personally believe that social media can in fact help social entrepreneurs and changemakers keep in touch and share ideas.

Ironies of Social Media: Sometimes Useless, Yet Always Unifying

In my opinion, there still is alot of useless (and even mind-numbing) data cluttering alot of social media. It can be hard to just browse through Twitter and figure out what’s relevant or useful. Nonetheless, when a person has a clear and definite message that they want to share with others (like for many social entrepreneurs), social media can help them to spread their message worldwide and in seconds.

It is ironic that while Nick complains about the nonsensical nature of social media, his forum for voicing out and sharing this message is through the use of social media (blogging, tweeting, facebook, buzz). Even Nick jokes at the end of his post for you to tweet it along.

Overall, I’d have to agree with Sonia Berisford-Murray, a commenter on Nick’s post:

“Social Networking is far from perfect, but I believe it is a symbol of our progression into unity. Of course it will be egotistical and self-serving, that is what we are at the moment. But if a kid in India can become interested in what a company in South Africa is doing, or an American befriends a Muslim simply because they connected anonymously through a shared interest, we can begin to bridge the gap of separatism – then I think there is hope for our evolution.”

Social Media can be annoying at times – yes.

However, it can also be a powerful tool, when used effectively, for social change and positive impact. It can also help create, discover or reignite good business ideas.