Caught in the net of infomania
Blogs, Facebook and Twitter are fantastic marketing tools, writes Rosanna Davison, but there can be a price to pay
I am now a fully fledged blogger and Twitterer. A Twit, if you like. It admittedly took some convincing, but caving in to my curiosity, and gentle managerial pressure, earlier this year I decided to set up both a Twitter account and a personal blog, simply called www.rosanna.ie.
I'm still getting used to being a blogger, though really enjoying it, and I feel a responsibility to update it daily or as often as possible. I almost feel as if it's a newborn baby, needing encouragement, nurturing and guidance. No nappy changing required.
It's both a great marketing tool, with links to my showreel and official website, plus a cyber journal, featuring work projects, travel, parties, interesting events and favourite foods, recipes, people and places. I make sure to upload plenty of pictures for all those less interested in my ramblings.
I've aimed for it to be constructive and positive, with plenty of practical information and advice. But anything of interest gets a look-in, however random, although I won't be filling it with information that's too personal -- once online, it's public property and it's there forever. I've also made the decision to disable comments, as plenty of past experience has unfortunately taught me that many people take advantage of the anonymity of the internet and write some deeply unpleasant things. I hope for my first blogging experience to be uplifting and fun for all involved.
With the fast pace of life, it can be easy to forget all that you've done or achieved in a year -- I look forward to reading back over my blog in the future and reminiscing on the events, work projects, travel, parties and the good times shared with friends.
Undoubtedly a worldwide phenomenon, blogs are quite simply online diaries, and fantastic for the sharing of ideas, information and links to other websites. Posts are arranged chronologically, and they're pretty easy to create and update; the information can be uploaded instantly. They reflect the personality, style and interests of their creator and are, in a way, quite voyeuristic. They come from a personal realm, yet are public property: an insight into the life and thoughts of a stranger. A blog can also be seen as a continuous tour, developing and changing with their human guide.
The number of people signing up to sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace is rapidly increasing. Indeed, the latter two are the ultimate kings of social networking, together boasting more than 250 million members, although Twitter is quickly catching up, with thousands of members signing up to the micro-blogging site every day.
I find Twitter really easy to use but, as with other social networks, dangerously time-consuming. According to my UK model agency, Storm, the majority of basic brand-ambassador contracts now specify that the model/celebrity must have an active Twitter account to help enhance the brand's marketing plan.
These extensive online communities have fast become marketing tools of incredible intuitiveness, capable of reaching out to an unprecedented global audience. More and more businesses are now realising the importance of social media marketing, and allocating greater resources. However, the equally relevant counter-argument is that social media sells out its members once it becomes a marketing tool of considerable prowess, rendering it pointless. Is it right to accept friend requests from businesses on Facebook when they are solely there to manipulate social networks and satisfy the goals of corporate marketing? Facebook is both a very personal and highly public cyber playground.
Like many of my peers with instant access to information through technology, particularly mobile phones, I admit to being an infomaniac. A long-haul flight or a dead phone battery is all that can prevent me from regular check-ups on the Facebook newsfeed, Sky News and other news and gossip sites. With such constant access to breaking news, many of us are afraid of missing out. We no longer have to wait until we're in front of a computer screen or vegging out on the sofa, where news is beamed into our living rooms.
With the exponential growth of social media and networking over the past decade, I often wonder what the next 10 or 20 years hold for this global phenomenon. Twitter, Facebook, and blogs such as mine will eventually become dated and inconvenient.
Suggestions, anyone? Just tweet me.