11 Reasons You Can’t Ignore Social Media in 2009

So, do you still think social media is a fad that we’ll all look back on and laugh at in the future? You can keep thinking that, but you’ll be stuck on the sidelines while social media continues to grow in 2009. In fact, let me give you 11 reasons you won’t be able to ignore social media this year.

1. Everyone is Using it- Okay, so it’s a bit of a stretch to say “everyone” is using social media, but the truth is there are millions of social media users. According to one study, over 60 million Americans have read a blog. Worldwide, that number is closer to 350 million. When my parents send me YouTube links, I know that almost everyone is involved with social media now.

2. Social Media is Gaining Trust- One of the knocks on social media as a source of information used to be that it wasn’t trustworthy. Today, social media is one of the top sources of news and important updates. People are starting to gain trust in it, and as a result, it’s still growing.

3. It’s Still Growing- The bottom line is new people are becoming social media users every day. According to newly released statistics, Facebook is now growing by about 600,000 users each day. Blog reading has grown by over 66% in the last year. In other words, social media is still growing, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

4. Our President Uses it- Soon to be President Obama has gotten the most out of social media. His campaign was highly active on Twitter, and now he uses YouTube to deliver his weekly address. In fact, his communication strategy has recently been dubbed “Obama 2.0.” President Obama has big plans to continue using the web as an important means of communicating with the American public.

5. When One Social Network Falls, Another Rises- Whenever a social network starts to decline in popularity (see MySpace,) detractors are quick to say that social media really is a fad. What they fail to realize is that the demise of one social network doesn’t spell the demise of social media. While MySpace was waning in popularity, sites like Twitter were exploding onto the scene. So, don’t be fooled by the downturn of a single social network. Others are stronger than ever before.

6. It’s Fast- In this increasingly digital society, speed is of the essence. We want the latest information, and we want it now. That’s another reason social media is so popular. Bloggers routinely break the latest stories, and the instant interactivity makes social media a hit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve followed conference coverage on blogs, Twitter, and other sources.

7. Cost Efficient for Companies- With the economy continuing to spiral out of control, companies are looking for new, cost-efficient ways to communicate with their target audience. Social media is fast becoming a priority for many of them. It’s one of the cheapest, fastest, and most effective ways to tap into the consumer pulse. Rest assured, the number of companies using social media will only rise in 2009.

8. It’s Passionate- One of the main reasons social media is knocking newspapers out of business is the passion behind it. With social media, people have leeway to inject their personality into the mix, and things are a bit more informal. As a result, this connects better with readers than stiff, impersonal content. Love them or hate them, social media users are as passionate as they come. Just hang out on Digg for a few minutes reading comments if you don’t believe me.

9. It’s Free- Everyone loves anything that’s free.

10. Social Media is Versatile- The social media landscape is more versatile than ever before. There are social networks for virtually every niche imaginable. Whether you’re looking to talk about video games or to connect with young singles, there are social networks out there for you. This versatility means that everyone has a place in the social media realm.

11. The Internet is Social- At the end of the day, this is the biggest reason you can’t ignore social media in 2009. The Internet is an inherently social medium. That won’t change. People will always want to engage with one another online, and social media will be there in one form or another to accommodate this need.

Are you ready to pay attention to social media in 2009? Which reasons would you add to this list? Tell me about them in the replies!