Online mediums are built for specific reasons. They all take on useless posts that do not seem to be to anyone’s benefit but they all perform the specific tasks for which they were created. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are front runners in their fields. They serve different purposes and are used by clients for those purposes.
Facebook leads the social media world by targeting the human need for social interaction. With a few keystrokes users say hello to family and friends. Some users maintain a core group of friends while others maintain a massive tally of friends from all over the globe. All to the same end, social interaction. The creators of Facebook are very successful at both attracting users and mining information from them that is valuable to marketers and researchers alike. “Facebook is popular across a broad swath of demographic groups and in many different countries, so it offers a unique source of information about human behavior with levels of ecological validity that are hard to match in most common research settings.” (Wilson R, Gosling S, Graham L 2012, p 209)
While Facebook caters to the average citizen wanting to maintain social contact, sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn perform more of an informative and marketing role. Twitter is a leader in the news world. The people with tight schedules without the time nor the patience for conventional news sources use it to get as informed as they need to be without the bother of reading entire stories. It gives a headline in less than 140 characters hoping to entice users to follow links to read more. Whether they do or don’t, Twitter gains credibility with its advertisers.
LinkedIn plays much the same game. They aim for the business world and provide a source of updates, an actively pruned batch of resumes, and a well defined audience to market to. LinkedIn is a hub and you can reach down a spoke to attain whatever info you need. This goes for the person or company looking for new markets, a person looking for a new position or someone who wants to stay up to speed with the latest competition.
Social media has added a twist to the old maxim “word of mouth” and made it “text of hand”. People subscribe, visit and use these sites and word gets around. The mediums do their job and are noted for it. It makes them impossible for people or companies to ignore.
Wilson R.E., Gosling S.D., Graham L.T., A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences, 2012 p. 202, http://pps.sagepub.com.ezproxy.macewan.ca/content/7/3/203.full.pdf+html