Monday, June 1, 2009

The Social Media Revolution.. So What?

"Social media this, Web 2.0 that, I swear, if I hear about Twitter one more time today..."

Ever had a conversation with a "social media cynic" that started with something like the sentence above? With a large dose of the dot com cynicism still ingrained in a lot of folks, I can understand why some folks feel this way.

So What is the big deal? "Online" Communities have been around since the 300k dial up BBS days, and online chat room have been around for a few decades now. What makes things special this time around?

In fact, people and animals have been forming communities since day one. This notion of "community" and "social" part of the web really is nothing new, is it?

To me, the most interesting part of the so call social media revolution is not technological, but a social change made possible by technology. In short, it is all about the the reach online communities have today. A dial up BBS may get a few hundred folks together, and a CompuServe community perhaps quite a bit more. Today, however, tools of the social web are bringing literally everyone with Internet access together, enabling true democracy on the web. Power of the crowd can finally triumph the elite few. Corporations and public figures can no longer ignore the collective. And pathetic attempts to "fool" the collective have often ended up backfiring on the creators of such schemes.

Enlightened management teams at large corporations have adapted to this new democratic system with great success. Dell's Idea Storm and Starbuck's Idea site are just a few great examples. Gone are the days of Milli Vanilli type of acts. Listen, react, and provide value-add to your customers. In return, you will gain an army of word-of-mouth marketers with results surpassing your most expensive ad campaigns.


Bladefrog said...

Great points around changing the way that we interact. Have you looked at the Google Wave concept and preso? I think this is the first legitimate move to radically transform separate online comms methods to a single unified discussion, regardless of media.

Anton Chiang said...

Thanks for the comment Bladefrog. Yes, Google Wave is certainly going to be a game changing killer app. I can't wait to get on the beta program and take a test drive. Like you said, it has the potential to drastically change the way we communicate. There will be some interesting social changes as a result of this paradigm shift, both in our professional and personal lives.