The concept of being social has changed over the last decade. While you might have had to catch someone at home when you wanted to speak to them or arranged to meet, now we can all just text, leave messages on profile walls, and email. If you're running all over town working or shopping, friends, family and even companies can still reach you in a matter of minutes when they want to. Public broadcasting takes on a new meaning when a simple message posted publicly on a social sharing platform goes "viral" and takes on a life of its own. Whether it was intended or not, a message meant for just a few can become a public announcement shared around the world. With this evolution of socializing has come some changes in the field of marketing and media.

Media is defined as the transfer of information or data through channels or transmission tools. This used to just mean devices like the television and radio. Now you can call everything from your computer to your mp3 player a media tool and all of these different things definitely have social applications. If you're scheduling a meeting or personal activity you can communicate your plans to other people through a number of different technologies.

One of the best things about the social media of today is that it allows anyone with something to say to have a voice. You can advertise your business on social networking sites and message boards. You can discuss your favourite books and movies with others from across the world. And you can stay in touch with people no matter where they live or what their schedule is like. With YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook alone it is a whole lot easier to get a message out there.

One of the biggest triumphs for social media in recent news is its involvement with protests of various kinds. It is said that so many people would not be able to come together and share one voice if it was not for their ability to share information online and through different elements of social media. Not only are they now able to bring everyone from students to team building consultants together in their own country, but they are also able to broadcast to the world. It is this global support for protesters and activists that can make all the difference.

The three greatest things about social media, as opposed to industrial media, are its reach, accessibility, and usability. If you're building a marketing plan for your firm or are just someone with an interest that you want to share with the world then there is little that is stopping you from reaching your goals. But this also presents some problems with social media. Not everyone is going to agree with everything that's posted online. This has called for a new level of discussion when it comes to social media.

Our pervasive use of and access to social media blurs the lines between business and personal use for many people, making it more and more imperative that one's social media activity be managed carefully, particularly for those whose business relies heavily on personal connections - a Realtor for example, who lives and dies by referrals, or a dentist, whose patients expect a certain degree of professionalism at all times, including during non-work hours. It is difficult for clients to separate a sales representative for Re/Max for example, from the agent as a mother, sister, volunteer and private individual.

Joe Speranzini of Scarfone Hawkins law firm in Ontario strongly cautions against allowing unrestricted access by your employees to your company's social media sites, as the potential for harm is so great from just one ill-considered post. Bear in mind that a private post can quickly turn into a public broadcast.

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