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Who is afraid of social media?

04 November 2010 / 13:11:36  GRReporter
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The number of people who know what are social media, use them, get informed and create content has increased significantly while companies still do not benefit from the enormous opportunities this special way of communicating with consumers offers, said Dimitris Mavros of MRB, presenting the results of the survey Internet Users and Companies.
The survey was held among 1,022 social media users aged over 15 years through the MRB website. Compared to the last year when 22 percent knew what ‘social media’ was, 74 percent of the respondents know this year. Now 60 percent of the survey participants maintain their own blogs, profiles in social networks, leave comments below articles. It appears in general that things done in the social media are more diverse than a year ago, when the first study was conducted. Most of the respondents have their own blog, secondly they visit pages of friends and third they update their profiles in networks such as Facebook, Youtube and Ttwitter. 72 percent of the respondents have a profile on Facebook, and 85 percent of them update it daily, 36 percent have their own page on Youtube, and Twitter is ranked third. On the other hand, most visited are news websites, those that contain information and everyday life topics. Users most often write comments under topics related to politics, society, or everyday issues, said Mr. Mavros.

According to MRB survey, 66 percent spend 3-4 hours a day to download songs or pictures from the Internet. Bloggers favourite is to offer interesting pages that they have found or to express their opinion on brands and products, which should be a bell for the companies, noted the MRB representative. Most of the content creators are men - 65.3%, both young and older, but almost all of them are working, while 50% of women are viewers.

An interesting finding from the survey is that people use social media to get informed and the time they spent browsing the websites increases more and more, which is detrimental especially to television. Advertising budget transfering from television to the Internet is not a coincidence, added Mr. Mavros. In addition, users have confessed that the information they receive from social media is pushing them to try new things they would not know that existed otherwise. Besides, new media are used for shopping that has to be yet another bell for advertisers, said Dimitris Mavros.

What is the relation between social media and society? Most of the respondents in the survey think that this enables the activation of large social groups without the need of establishing an organization. Secondly, this enables people to protest and it is expected to soon contribute to the formation of political views.

User’ fears are connected with the personal information use - whether this is true or not, there are talks about it. This is an alarm and it appears that there are concerns, commented Dimitris Mavros. According to 76 percent of the respondents, the boom of social media use has increased the cases of using personal information without permission and 60 percent think Big Brother phenomenon is being created. On the other hand, anonymity or the ability to forges data published are reasons to distrust the media. Half of the users surveyed expect that companies have changed their way of advertising and 80 percent believe that social media are enabling small and medium enterprises to establish contacts with large numbers of customers  whom they would otherwise not be able to contact. The companies survey shows that 35-40 percent have no policy on using the social media. They use social media mostly for public relations, branding and to attract the interest of potential customers using social media.

"Businesses and politicians will have to accept this new trend and to rearrange their habits. Instead of using traditional media for communication they should turn through social media to groups of individuals who develop common interests, to start an ongoing dialogue and communication with them. We are at the onset of this trend and soon we will witness its development in geometric progression," said the Director of the Institute of Communications George Mavros at the Who is afraid of social media? conference, during which was presented the MRB study on the Internet users and business.

"Greece is in transition and needs to change faster than we expected, our connections are  establishing and developing with new codes of communication. Social media provide great opportunities to be on the wave of change, rather than below it," said the Minister of Regional Development and Communication Michalis Chrysohoidis. When we started to use the new media at first, we the politicians reproduced press releases and the people commented, but to develop substantial communication it needs to reach to the both sides, to be on equal footing, the Мinister added. "While I was Minister of Citizen Protection we felt during the terrorist attacks strong need of thousands of citizens to express their concerns, ideas that were sometimes extreme, and following the communication the Ministry set up a platform to communicate with uniformed staff, to discuss shifts and salaries issues, the extreme behaviour of some uniformed policemen. Then I got a lot of information, ideas and saw the employees’ moods. Now, you can see that the police and fire services have websites where all citizens can obtain information about traffic jams or fires in the city in real time," noted Minister Chrysohoidis.

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