Today is the international day of social networks, tools that have changed our day-to-day personal and professional lives and from which we find it hard to detach ourselves. On a day like today, and through this article, I felt the need to put special focus on certain aspects that, as a lover and active user of them, we must sometimes remind ourselves.
Did you know that there is a theory that explains that all of us living on the planet are connected through six people? It is called the theory of six degrees of separation and was proposed in 1930 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy.
According to this theory, each person knows “on average”, counting family, friends, work colleagues, hobbies, school, etc., about 100 people. If each of these close acquaintances is related to another 100 acquaintances, any individual can have a point of contact with up to 10,000 people. In other words, if I give a message to one of my acquaintances, just by asking them to tell their 100 acquaintances, that message is reaching 10,000 people. And I continue with the explanation: if those 10,000 people know another 100, the network would expand to 1,000,000 connected people in a third step, to 100,000,000,000 in a fourth, to 10,000,000,000,000 in a fifth and to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 in a sixth.
Those of you who are still reading the post (thank you for continuing given my previous explanation), you may be wondering what this theory has to do with the international day of social networks. Let’s stop and think for a moment: if this theory emerged more than 100 years ago without the existence of technology and, therefore, social networks, are we really aware of the impact that a message, post, comment, etc. can have when we make it public on our social networks? Technology makes it possible for something we post to reach almost any individual on the planet.
According to data from the latest study published by We are social, Digital 2020 Global Digital Overview, more than half of the world’s population, specifically 53% of the population is connected to the Internet. The majority are active users of social networks, a figure that continues to grow year after year.
We live in a connected world, 3 billion people are connected via the Internet, and at Telefónica we know that better connectivity means a better quality of life. However, due to economic barriers, social obstacles and lack of infrastructure, 2/3 of the world is still not connected. Those of us who, fortunately, are already connected, are we aware that in one click we can get the information we are looking for? How can we educate those who do not yet have access to the Internet to use social media in the most appropriate way once it is available to them? Are we putting into practice a responsible use of social networks, protecting our identity and digital footprint?
The answer is simple: responsible use of technology is everyone’s job, and above all, I put the focus on those of us who are passionate about our work and work with social media on a daily basis. We must be loudspeakers and explain the benefits of social media and raise awareness of the precautions we must take to use them responsibly. Let’s make it simple, social media have become a very valuable and necessary tool in our daily lives and with a correct use the impact is positive, however, in order to enjoy the benefits, we must first be aware of the risks.
Let’s go back to the six degrees theory. It is an important day for us in our personal sphere; the wedding of a family member. We upload content on our networks in which we include, mention, tag our entire circle and in which, without realising it, we exempt our surroundings from privacy, often overexposing minors and without being aware that a few photos in a relaxed atmosphere can be used against us or against those who appear in them and have a negative impact on their and our digital footprint and reputation. Let us remember that when we publish something, we make public and visible a message that remains on the network and “ceases to belong to us”, so we lose control and can reach millions of people without being aware of it.
Let’s educate and protect our minors: grooming, sexting, etc. are terms that only a couple of years ago were known by digital marketing professionals, however, unfortunately they are increasingly common terms that we must focus on as adults in order to educate. Are we protecting our minors by limiting the use of the websites they browse? By making them aware of the importance of digital disconnection in our daily lives? After the pandemic, Red de Atención a las Adicciones (UNAD) launched a campaign called #GánaleLaPartida in which it claimed that being connected can disconnect us from everything after verifying that during the coronavirus crisis and due to the confinement, a notable increase in calls for help related to the abuse of video games, online gaming, excessive exposure to mobile phones and the Internet by children and adolescents was detected; exacerbating problematic behaviours derived from the misuse of technologies.
With this post, I really don’t want to dramatise; but as I began by saying, on many occasions we must remind ourselves and… I amend the mea culpa that even when talking about social media for personal and professional use, it is also necessary for our heads to know how to disconnect in order to connect.
We are a loudspeaker and we have a responsibility, therefore, on this international day of social networks I wanted to claim the importance that thanks to technology they gain in our daily lives for people, brands and companies going a step further and hoping that among all those and not only marketing professionals we manage to convey and educate that fun, information and communication are not incompatible with privacy, cybersecurity and privacy on the network through social media; a responsible use is possible 🙂
Happy International Social Media Day to all users!