Lecturing at University College London (UCL) and the power of Social Media
I recently had the pleasure of lecturing at University College London (UCL) and the power of social media was again at the forefront of discussion. When I asked these simple questions:
- 1) ‘who here trusts what they see & read on social media’, no one raised their hand.
I then followed this up with:
- 2) ‘how many of you get your news from social media’, almost all of them raised their hand.
With the recent Trump campaign for the US Presidency and the equally feisty BREXIT campaign, we should be under no illusion how influential social media channels have become. Facebook has even stated it will try and weed out fake news which, in my view, is a near impossible task. However, I am pleased to see them acknowledging and addressing it.
BREXIT produced a sensational amount of false news and scaremongering from both sides. Some of the apparent ‘explainer’ videos I saw were literally shocking and President Obama was absolutely right to hold students accountable for finding out the truth and ‘digging deeper’ in one of his many speeches. We are accountable and responsible for finding out the truth, as best we can.
I appreciate one lecture room of 20 students is not the biggest nor most conclusive survey by any stretch. Perhaps more research is needed. However, you cannot dispute that it is a definitive indicator and, from what most of us have seen, probably true of most similar age groups.
We do, after all, tend to believe what we want to believe. If this statement is true, it suggests that if we’re fed news we want to believe, we are more likely to trust it, share it and unwittingly peddle it (sometimes even before we read and fully understood it).
To state what I deem is the obvious: we can create stories online which people want to believe are true and are inline with our brands mission and vision. We can then positively or negatively influence opinion.
Lastly, a brand is not exclusive to just businesses; it is also Nations, Religions and Political Parties.
What do you think?