Word CloudYou may have read the article 2011: The year when a lot happened¬†on the BBC News website on Monday. Highlighting the Arab Spring, the deaths of Bin Laden and Jong-il, the Japanese earthquake and phone-hacking scandal amongst them, there have been so many high-profile news stories hogging the headlines that 2011 has definitely felt “somehow more momentous than an ordinary year.”

However, the author, Tim Footman, suggests that it isn’t simply that there have been such big stories, but the way in which news has broken and spread that has made 2011 such an interesting year. He reminds us that the “first inkling of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden came not from President Obama’s solemn press conference, but from one of the al-Qaeda leader’s unwitting neighbours in Abbottabad, musing aloud on Twitter about the US helicopter that had suddenly disturbed his evening.”

The speed at which news spreads highlights how important and relevant the internet and social media are, and especially how mobile technologies are changing the way we find out and interact with the world around us. Footman asks “how many people first got the news of Steve Jobs’s death via one of his own devices?”

Of course, people can be accused of ‘oversharing’ and it’s important not to cross the line of privacy. Let’s not forget the aptly-named US Congressman Anthony Weiner essentially lost his job sending very intimate pictures to women on Twitter.

However, there are so many advantages to using social media for business, that it would be naive to ignore it. With over 30 million Facebook users in the UK alone, social media provides a fantastic platform to help increase brand awareness and enables you to engage with current and potential customers. While Facebook and Twitter are great advertising tools, they are extremely useful for providing customer service.

Real Point have launched a series of ‘Get on with’ courses, to help local businesses make the most of utilising social media. During these hands-on sessions, we’ll share with you our knowledge on using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging with a focus on practical business benefits to help grow your bottom line.

With new courses being added all the time, see online for details of all our upcoming courses or give us a call for more information.

(Word Cloud: Tagxedo.com)