Social Media is the Great Equalizer

by Ron on October 6, 2009

Social Media is the Great Equalizer - Picture by aflcio2008 on flickr

I came across a post today that left me astounded. Tim Bevins who writes the excellent Wikinomics blog wrote that some studies suggested social media is elitist. The reason this surprised me so much is I see it as totally the opposite. Social media to me is the great equalizer.

Until Social Media, We Had No Voice

In the days before Web 2.0 tools and social media how many of us had a voice? We could sit on the door step of publications and beg for them to let us in, to give us the outlet for our writing, but the publishers controlled the presses, and as such they controlled the gate. Today, any one of us is a publisher. Each and every one of us with access to a computer (available at most public libraries in the United States) can get online and communicate to the world.

Neither do we need a team of expensive marketing and public relations professionals to build our brand or spread our word. We have all the tools at our finger tips, thanks to Web 2.0 and social media.  What could be more democratic than that? Perhaps it’s the early adopters who have given the misperception of elitism, but with any new technology there are going to be the earliest users who get there first. It doesn’t make these people elitist. It makes them smart, lucky or a little of both.

It’s Just That Easy

You want to get involved with social media:

* Twitter: Just sign on, give your name, password, email and a short bio and you’re pretty much good to go.
* Facebook: All you need is an email address and a password to get started.
* LinkedIn: Sign in, begin building your profile, and you’re ready to start linking to friends and colleagues
* Blog: Just join a free service like Blogger, fill out the simple form and you’re ready to start writing.

Every one of these tools is within the reach of just about all of us. At most, it requires some training to fully understand and take advantage of these tools, but the tools themselves are simple to use and supremely accessible.

So I’m baffled by anyone who would suggest that social media is elitist. It is in fact, the complete opposite of elitist. It puts the power in the hands of individuals, power to publish and express that five or 10 years ago was well beyond the reach of most people. The academics Bevins cites in his post may think otherwise, but in my view they couldn’t be more wrong. Social media is in fact all about inclusion and we are very lucky to live in the times we do.

Photo by aflcio2008 on Flickr.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary Lawler October 6, 2009 at 1:26 pm

That is the stupidest thing I have read in a long time. Why are people trying manufacturing more ways in which we are different? We are different. I thought we were supposed to be celebrating diversity. All the academics he quotes are just that, academics that really, admit it, haven’t a clue what is going on outside their lab. Social media users gravitate toward similar Social Media users.What is so astounding about that? Does he then suggest that there be only one Social Media Forum so we can all be on a level playing field.? LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc have some common elements but it is ultimately up to the user to determine how and where they will use their voice.

2 Ron October 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I agree, Mary. That’s why I felt compelled to write this post. It literally poured out of me in a matter of seconds after reading about these studies. People gravitate towards people they like in real life too. It’s what humans do. We don’t need a study to tell us that.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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