Can Social Media Make You a Super Hero?

3 Social Media Super Powers

While The Green Lantern aims to satisfy our summer craving for action-adventure movies, as kids, we read about The Green Lantern and other super heroes in comic books and fantasized what it would be like to have their special powers. Social media gives us the power to make a difference in ways that are super. It’s up to us how we choose to use these special abilities.

3 Super hero qualities

Like the gods of yore, our comic book super heroes are larger than life. Super heroes, similar to the gods, were created in man’s image and had these three attributes.

  1. Special super power.  In the comic book world, the hero has one quality that’s superior to those of mere mortals. For example, Superman’s special power to fly,  “faster than the speed of sound” enables him to go anywhere in an instant. By contrast, social media enables an individual to reach out and connect to strangers around the world without taking a single step.
  2. Strong moral compass. Every super hero has a keen sense of right and wrong. For them, there’s no question of what needs to be done when someone’s in trouble. By contrast, social media requires that each of us have a sense of what’s the right to do in a world that’s not black and white the way our comic books were.
  3. Achilles heel. Since our super heroes are inevitably human, they have one weakness. For Superman, kryptonite made him weak. On social media, our Achilles heel is the fact that we’re human and sometimes don’t do the right thing. Thoughts go straight from our brains to our fingertips. Making these errors worse is the fact that the Internet never forgets.

3 Ways social media can make you a super hero.

Today, you don’t need to dream about being Superman, Spiderman or The Green Lantern. With the use of social media, you can be a super hero among your social graph and the public. As Spiderman learned, with great power comes great responsibility. On social media this translates to social responsibility. Therefore, social media’s caveat is that you must use your super powers to be human and create something that’s larger than you are. Here are social media’s three main super powers.

  1. Expands personal networks and communities. Through social media, we can connect with family, friends, colleagues and others. This larger community enables us to accomplish things that would have been challenging without the support of social media. Through social media, we’re able to reach a wider, more engaged audience faster. We can unite to support a cause as Tweetsgiving does. Or we can show our human side and galvanize others as Dr. Krupali Tenura, a radiation oncologist does through her blog and Twitter (@Krupali).
  2. Builds knowledge quickly and disseminates it widely. Social media (with the help of the Internet) enables us to gather and curate more news and information in a more time efficient manner. While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all provide lens for collecting information, Wikipedia empowers a community to document, edit and use its encyclopedic information. At the same time, we’re able to share this content more broadly. For example, Khan Academy provides over 2,100 videos to help anyone get a free education.
  3. Enables faster and broader communication. With social media communication can be one-to-many, one-to-one and many-to-many. Additionally, it can occur in real time and/or in lapsed time depending on the social media platform used. Through the use of social media, individuals can get the word out faster and rally help in situations like the Japanese tsunami and the Egyptian revolution.

With social media you can be a super hero, even if it’s only for your social network. The challenge is using social media’s special powers to support your community, not your own personal goals!

In what other ways can you use your social media super powers? What have you been able to accomplish with them?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Hat tip to Christopher S. Penn for inspiring this post with his presentation at the 140 Character Conference.

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photo credit: CalvinB via Flickr

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