Community service has all gone online
Man as a social being has always craved for identity. We have always had social contacts, social groups and friend-circles. Nothing new in that. Only, now the socializing has gone cyber of late.
Internet has facilitated socializing to such an extent that the world is crammed with groups of special interests. And, internet, the communication marvel that smashed all geographical boundaries, is so powerful that it could evoke a revolution! Look at what happened in Egypt where the Facebook powered a social action that threw out a regime in a short while.
Again, networking was at its best in the last presidential elections in the U S where Barack Obama scored considerably over his presidential rival using the internet. Today, social networking is not a Netizen’s fad, rather, a pre-requisite for business and social success.
There are hundreds of social networking sites besides the top ones like MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They coalesce people into action for a specific cause, ignite animated discussions on topics never before possible, help raise funds for worthy causes, work as a bulwark against corruption and crime. Of course, on its flipside, there are always misuses like those covertly using this platform for abuse and exploitation like child pornography, paedophile, spreading religious and political calumny. The power of online networking is so vast that online free films are now available for people to view.
While socializing for charitable or educational purposes are easy to understand, what is lesser known even today in developing countries is the business impact of social networks.
The use of social network services in an enterprise context presents the potential of having a major impact on the world of business and work. Social networks connect people at low cost. This can be useful for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to expand their contact base.
These networks often act as a customer relationship management tool for companies selling products and services. Companies can also use social networks for advertising in the form of banners and text ads. Since businesses operate globally, social networks can make it easier to keep in touch with contacts around the world. LinkedIn.com, for instance, aims to interconnect professionals.
Many businesses are using brand networking to create communities. This evolved level of user participation with the brand creates strong relationships with consumers and leverages sales and generates fan equity (holding consumers to a brand, a sort of brand loyalty). It is becoming a successful marketing tool, which is much cheaper than traditional methods like employing people or advertising through media.
With brilliant digi-wizz kids making improvement every minute, networking is reaching stratospheric proportions. Compared to the traditional methods of forming associations through printed appeal or physical contact, online networking allows every minuscule segment of world population to create a niche for itself and benefit from it. And, most important of it all: unlike TV, the internet is non-intrusive and has longer shelf life than conventional media.
Cheaper and efficacious, easier and effervescent, online community service and social networking can be paying and fun too. You build a groundswell of goodwill with online community service.