NAMIC 2009: Facebook's Hughes: Media Companies Must Use Social Platforms To Stay Relevant


The burgeoning social media platform is just beginning to revolutionize the communication and information arena, so media companies need to find ways to utilize the platform to stay relevant in a fast moving information world, according to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

Hughes, whose keynote address opened the 23rd annual NAMIC Conference Tuesday, says social media platforms -- including the 300 million-user Facebook service -- has revolutionized the way people communicate with each other, with consumers now becoming information creators along with having access to an unprecedented amount of information via the web.

"That's making our world more transparent - as we see more and more info coming on can filter it to determine what is right [for you]," he said. "The more information we have, the more equipped we are to make good decisions."

The social media revolution will also lead to more community collaboration among people from around the world around an issue or political movement. He pointed to the creation and ultimate success of the website, which has been widely credited with spearheading President Obama's election, as an example of how social sites can become catalysts for political change.

The site which Hughes created, helped the candidate raise more than $2 million in donations of less than $200 each and swiftly mobilized hundreds of thousands of supporters.

"Everything we did on the [social] network was about getting people active, which means giving people a voice," he said. "We created a culture of creation on the campaign."

Given the abundance of information available to consumers, Hughes believes trusted institutions which can best collect and disseminate that information will flourish and become more vital in the future.

"Trust in information t becoming even more important over time and there will be shift back to trusted institutions and media," Hughes said.

For cable companies seeking to navigate their way through the social media revolution, Hughes advised them to continue to experiment with ideas and strategies in an effort to determine how best to engage their audience.

"We all need to innovate and iterate... and always try for something new and better," Hughes said.