My friend and I met for coffee the other day and I hardly recognized her when she walked in the café with her new blonde bob. She had previously donned long, brown, flowing locks. Yes, she has a new look. But, what makes this point lead-worthy is that she allowed her Facebook friends to decide the cut, style and color.
Let’s face it. Social media has changed the way many of us communicate. And when I say many, I mean men and women…but more women. And is that really a surprise? Women are natural communicators. The statistics back me up here. When it comes to social networking, 68% of women use it to stay in touch with friends, whereas only 54% of men use it to stay connected to their peers. There’s an even greater divide when it comes to staying in touch with family members; 60% of women are using social media, but only 42% of men use the tools with that group of people.
And now, social media has crossed a line. It is no longer just a place to showcase the 40 weeks of pregnancy in a virtual photo album. No, now it is also a tool for women to come together to communicate one message in one, united voice.
A recent example and hot topic is the latest Rush Limbaugh debacle. Here’s a quick, hopefully unbiased summary: Limbaugh, the nation’s leading conservative radio talk show host, is in hot water after he called 30-year-old law student, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” and “prostitute” after she stood before Congress regarding the high costs of birth control.
The backlash, especially on social media, was immediate and overwhelming. Thousands of women nationwide took to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to not only defend one of their own, but also question and condescend the advertisers that support Limbaugh and the radio stations cross-country that syndicate his show.
The result? Sponsors began (and still are) running for the hills. So far, 19 advertisers and two radio stations have pulled the plug on Limbaugh’s show. With over 600 radio stations airing his show nationwide, it’s doubtful this will have a lasting effect.
But, what will remain is the new-found power women have attained using what is virtually at their fingertips. Whether it’s polling Facebook friends about a new haircut or making a public stand using a public platform, one thing is for sure: Women have found a new way to come together using one voice–a voice that’s being heard loud and clear.