Charlie Rose asked Reid Hoffman (CEO of LinkedIn) if social media is experiencing growing pains and how much growth potential remains. Hoffman’s response is solidly optimistic and realistic (“Charlie Rose Talks to . . . Reid Hoffman” Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/21/14–7/27/14, p. 32):
“A lot of the globe is still coming onto the Internet with the expansion of smartphones all over the world. That gives you a natural rising tide for all of [the social media networks]. I think there are growing pains, but I think that a lot more of the world is still coming online than is already there. So there’s a massive amount of growth possible.”
Given the nature of the global population, ongoing technological development, and social media itself, I completely agree with Hoffman. By definition, growing pains will always accompany a growth situation. Unchartered territory reveals challenges. That is to be expected.
Reflect upon yourself as a person. Reflect upon your company or organization. I am positive that you will have no problem identifying various challenges that arose directly or indirectly related to social media. However, you weathered through them and very likely got better as a result. Therefore, will we continue to have growing pains? Yes. Will we become better as a result? Yes.
I fully agree with Hoffman’s affirmation that social media still has a massive amount of growth potential. It certainly is not disappearing any time soon. In fact, social media will only enlarge its footprint locally and globally.
Although some continuously bemoan the negative aspects of social media (it is a time suck, criminal activity, reliability of content, to name a few), I choose continuously to embrace social media for all the good that it offers. Social media allows you and me to do everything of value that we are already doing, and instantaneously splash it to an exponentially enlarged and valuable theater of operation. In that scenario, everyone wins.