July 2nd, 2013 by Bendure

The Altimeter Group’s “Social Media Conversation Prism.”

I could go on and on about social media. Really, college students such as myself who spend ample time procrastinating (wait, I meant studying…) are perhaps some of the most avid social media mavens out there. From Facebook to Pinterest to Soundcloud to Twitter and all of the other offerings in between, social media takes up a good chunk of my free (and not so free) time, so I’d consider myself somewhat of an expert in the field, albeit self-proclaimed.

Yet over the past several weeks here at Bendure, I’ve come to realize more and more that social media is more than yet another vehicle for self-promotion or mindless entertainment – even if that’s all some of us mean to use it for. From a business standpoint, the use of social media can help to create a brand or image, and allows for more interactive communication with targeted audiences. In PR especially, social media is becoming the cornerstone of successful communications, contributing to the importance of staying on top of the latest developments and trends in the field (Vine versus Instagram video, anyone?). Even in politics, social media has come to play an integral role in the process, keeping the public both informed and engaged – just look at the 2012 election (Obama had 17.5 million Twitter followers at the time) or the social media frenzy surrounding recent Supreme Court decisions. The Wikipedia page on social media (don’t cringe – it’s far more reliable than it used to be, and Wiki is technically a social media site itself due to its collaborative nature, thus wholly appropriate for this post) actually gives quite a nice definition of this somewhat elusive term:

“Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks… It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.”

The two concepts here that interest me the most are “virtual communities and networks” and “substantial and pervasive changes to communication.” In many ways, the rise of social media, or the “digital revolution” as some call it, has enabled the creation and mobilization of countless groups for activism, support, idea-sharing, and artistic exchange. Social media has become a vital tool to be used in advancing any cause, be it social, political, environmental, etc., through its ability to rally people together in these so-called “virtual communicates” that ultimately have the capacity to extend into real life.

Social media has also profoundly changed the ways in which we communicate with each other. While some may lament that the “disconnection” caused by over-investment in the alternative methods of communication provided by social media is damaging, I have to disagree (overall). While increasingly digitized communication may be emerging as a major means of interaction among young people these days, it’s not replacing face to face relationships, but rather supplementing them. What’s more, the new types of communications we’re seeing are becoming more and more instantaneous, accessible, and interactive  thanks to the rapidly developing social media field, contributing to the “viral” trend as well as allowing for “posts” and “comments” on social media websites and apps to have far greater reach than other methods of communication. It’s hard to say whether this is necessarily a good or a bad thing, or perhaps some combination of both – but it’s absolutely important to recognize and understand, and it’s something that my time here at Bendure has helped me to see even more clearly. Whether the concept of social media interests you or not, one thing is for sure: social media is taking the business, political, artistic, and interpersonal worlds by storm. It’s not just for college kids anymore!

Grace Murphy is interning at Bendure Communications during the summer of 2013. She’ll occasionally be blogging about her time here, so check back to hear what she has to dish about her first intern experience. See her first post at


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