August 24, 2010 4 Comments
(This brief series is an effort to help us make the reasons for using social networking for business clearer to the skeptic, by rooting usage in overall cultural/technical trends that are…well, inevitable! See also part 1, the introductory post; and part 2, The New Normal is the Old Normal)
Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote a couple of years ago for the book Age of Conversation 2:
We are hardwired to communicate. We think, we share, we listen, we pass along information. We are storytellers and story-listeners.
However, as we’ve moved to a more modern society, with means of mass communication, a funny thing began to happen. Designated storytellers began to take over the place. And the rest of us were supposed to just listen.
The microphone was given to newscasters. Journalists. Professors. Authors. Experts. Marketers. The vast majority of people became listeners. Recipients. Consumers.
The tide has now turned. With social media tools, we have the microphone now. All we have to do is turn it on, and begin speaking. And we’re not giving it back!
The barriers to the average person having a “public” voice used to be pretty high. Influencers became such through a long (and usually expensive) process. No more. Ideas can flow, through social media tools, into the public marketplace within minutes. At virtually no cost.
This cultural and technical trend utterly upends the communications apple cart. A digital camera and a blog can expose wrongdoing at lightning speed. A musical talent can be uncovered overnight. Shoddy journalists and crummy businesses can be upstaged by mere citizens with an array of digital “microphones.”
Which is why we don’t want to talk about social media in isolation. The issue is digitally empowered expression. That train has left the station, and is hurtling comfortably down the track. Even if the details about Facebook and Twitter and “social media” aren’t well understood, any business that wants to remain relevant can understand this one Trend Current:
The customer has the microphone now. And s/he is not giving it back.
[This post is part of a series of posts, each covering a certain aspect of the topic: see part 1, The New Normal; part 2, The New Normal is the Old Normal; part 3, The Microphone is Mine Now; part 4, The Incredibly Shrinking Middleman; part 5, Someone Took Down the Fences, part 6, The New Digital Neighborhood; and the summary post – Social Media: Start Here]
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