Living (and Working) in a Social Media World

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

Are we living in a flat world? Do we no longer have any concept of time or geography because of social media? Author Andrew Keen asked these types of questions this morning at Social South, a social media conference in Birmingham, Ala.

For ChildFund International, these are great questions as we think about our work. While we are headquartered in Richmond, Va., our work spreads around the globe helping more than 15 million children and their family members in 31 countries. Due to the expansion of social media – Facebook, Twitter, this blog – we’re able to deliver information about these countries in a timely manner. You – our readers, our donors, our followers, our fans – are not just in the United States. Maybe you’re reading this in Africa or Australia or Mexico. It may be 10 a.m. or 8 p.m. or midnight or noon. This blog does not care what time it is – we want you to know what is happening at ChildFund International at all hours of the day.

This blog and our pages on Facebook and Twitter are tools for us to use to connect with you no matter where you are or what time of the day it is. We want to have a conversation with you on any and all of these sites. We’re here to give you what you want – you just have to tell us. Without your questions or comments, some of these blog posts would not be possible.

So to answer Andrew’s questions, the answers can be both yes and no. While social media connects us to many people around the world, Internet access is still very limited in many areas we work. While I can send an e-mail to a colleague in Africa today, it may take a few days before they’re able to respond to me. Also, while anyone can access our sites at any time, time zones still exist. This post will go up in the middle of the afternoon on the East Coast in the U.S., but for some of you it is already Saturday. A colleague I correspond with several times a month works in Asia and is 13 hours ahead of me. When I send him an e-mail at 9 a.m., I often do not get a response until some time in the middle of the night for me.

While we’re living in a social media world, communication still is not always instant despite the fact that we think it is.

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