Appreciating The Phenomenon Called Social Media

By Jemy Altenor

WE’VE constantly seen, heard and interacted with the phenomenon called social media but do we truly appreciate the way that it is currently shaping our lives and ultimately our future?

As a young man, I was visionary enough to be one of the first to establish a Social Media Marketing business 7 years ago in St. Lucia. I have seen and experienced firsthand the evolution and exploitation, the power and effect that mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp have on our lives.

According to a quick Google search, Social Media is defined as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.”

We can use Social Media to benefit in the following ways:
1) Connect with family and old friends, especially those overseas
2) Build and maintain relationships
3) Obtain news and updates– information that is not normally published via mainstream media is most times available on social media
4) Market products and services affordably and conveniently
5) Job searching and scholarships
6) Showcase talent — writing, art, singing, etc.

Unfortunately, as with most things, man has found negative uses for social media as well. Many people suffer from identity theft, scams and fraud, pornography and harassment, amongst others.

Given the negatives associated with social media, we, however, should not allow these to distract and deter us from the vast opportunities that await us mere clicks away.

Facebook is currently the most used social network worldwide. As of March 31, 2017, it boasts a total user base of over 1.94 billion users. In the Caribbean, over 42 million people have access to the internet, whether via desktop, laptop or a mobile device. Of that amount, over 10 million people in the Caribbean are registered on Facebook. In Saint Lucia, over 60,000 St. Lucians are recorded to be signed up on Facebook. The current most popular St. Lucian page on Facebook is St. Lucia News Online, which has an impressive following of over 175,000 people comprising worldwide followers.

There are many other examples of St. Lucians and businesses taking advantage of social media while also marketing St. Lucia to the world. Notable local Facebook profiles and pages like the local print and online news media, leading hotels like Jade Mountain and Coconut Bay, creative people like Acid Kreationz, Kiedel Sonny, Wavemaker Productions, Joel Morris, VERVE and many others.

I must note the presence of active St. Lucian Facebook groups like CAPS, SLAP and the 758 Investment and sales groups which give individuals an avenue to share ideas and concerns.

The power of social media should also be quite obvious given the presence of the main political parties and all their candidates having a very active presence on Facebook which persists even after the general elections of June 2016.

Revolutions have been organized, political campaigns have been won, terrorist attacks detected, crimes solved, talent has been discovered, relationships continue to be built, opportunities have been discovered and millionaires have been made all because of social media.

As a people, we must make better use of the power that sits at our fingertips. Find positive ways to use social medium like Facebook to earn an income, build relationships, find opportunities, network, inspire and innovate!

Innovation in Progress

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