Do you remember the first time you read a blog? What about the first time you went on Facebook or Twitter? Did you ever think that a blog or social networking site could be a road to fame, fortune and the American Dream?
The power of the American Dream lies in the underlying notion of social mobility: Anyone can make it to the top through hard work, dedication, and an innovative idea. Regardless of whether or not the American Dream today is fact, or merely a powerful fantasy that distracts us from larger social problems, I think we can all agree that a mastery of social media is touted as the latest route to achieve the American Dream.
I believe in social media. It has absolutely revolutionized the way we communicate and relationships between brands and consumers. We live in an exciting time when it feels like anyone can become successful by using social media. There are numerous examples of social media success stories, from blogs like Perez Hilton to Pro Football Talk to Nah Right that rival (or outshine) major media sources in their niche, to those like Richard Scoble, Chris Brogan, and Pete Cashmore who have become social media celebrities based on their (near) obsession with connecting people and social technologies. There are people who have achieved fame, influence and following via social media in any industry or niche.
On the surface then, it appears that anyone can achieve social media rock-stardom and drive 140 MPH on the social media highway that leads to American Dreamville. While integrating social media into our lives may seem like common sense, we have to remember that not everyone “gets it”, and what’s more, there are many who don’t have the education or resources necessary to use social media to achieve their goals.
To all of those who have become successful using social media, I have something to say to you:
I bet you would have become successful without it.
The social media blogosphere today likes to attack individuals for their failures, especially when it comes to adopting social media. This kind of bashing is fine when it’s aimed at those who are too stubborn to adopt a new technology or those who think that social media is a fad.
But whatÂ about those who haven’t been fortunate enough to get good educations that allow them to communicate effectively? Or those who did not grow up around the internet and understand its consequences?Â What about those who don’t have the luxury to take a certain amount of time off to build up a business in order to have a four hour work week?
In our praising of social media as a powerful route to success, we need to remember that there are those who do not have the ability to use social media effectively, not because they are stupid or stubborn, but solely because of unfortunate circumstances.
Am I being overly critical? Do you think we all start at an equal playing field with social media?