There is no doubt that social media is one of the strongest influencers in the world today… both personally and professionally. You have to look no further than LinkedIn to see professionals seeking input from other professionals; or to Facebook community pages where moms are asking other moms for parenting and medical advice.

However, do we ever stop to truly understand the source of the information and the bias through which it is delivered?

Everybody has a bias and an agenda and while they may not consciously understand that their responses are influenced by these biases, we, as consumers of social media, must be aware. We must challenge the information we find and those that provide their input. We must try to understand the bias of those who provide information and filter accordingly. At the end of the day, social media is really no different than a commercial.

Social media even allows for advertising breaks through the vehicle of a boosted post or ad based on individual targeting. You are delivered a constant stream of content that is filtered to your personal online activity. It is easier than ever for promoters to push information that “matters” to you.

Beyond Social Influence

While social media promotions may, in reality, be no more than a traditional commercial… it is a well targeted and well-delivered commercial that consumers of the information are allowing to drive, rather than influence, their thoughts. Mostly because it always “seems” to align with their world view, rather than question it through alternative perspectives. It reinforces our current thinking vs. pushes us to think more.

As consumers, we are all guilty of allowing others to shape our opinions, values and understanding of the world around us. And why? Just because someone has a significant number of followers doesn’t mean that their opinion has more value than your own… or that the information they put forth is right.

When used correctly, social media can be a strong vehicle for both professional and personal growth. As a professional it allows us to better understand consumer trends and participate in industry conversations, if not drive those conversations. It allows us to get a pulse on community and business issues to understand varying perspectives. It allows us to drive conversations that better our business and ourselves.

What it should never do is influence thoughts to the point where we replace our own values and thoughts with those of another, or stop questioning our own biased opinions by purely seeking reinforcement of what we already think to be the truth. The more mindful we are of the power of social media, the less vulnerable we are to allow that to happen.

About Roy Murad

Roy Murad is a father, husband, business advisor, investor, advocate for new business ventures, and consummate entrepreneur. Over the course of 35 years building businesses, guiding companies and identifying strong investment opportunities, while nurturing a thriving family, Roy Murad has amassed a wealth of experience; experience, that may be of value to others who are looking to shape a balanced and successful life experience.

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