Who would dare to predict how social media will look in 2010? No one knows for sure. But it is becoming mainstream fast.
With anyone able to publish and distribute information, the battle for attention is growing. You have to think about what content is going to capture the imagination and the interest of your audiences, as they have so much choice. You have to earn attention. You cannot simply buy it. And barging into social networks and clumsily shouting about your products and services, or slapping down dissent with intimidatory legal threats, is not going to work effectively.
The relative stability of the media market has been severely disrupted by social media, as have traditional communications agencies and traditional PR practices. Many established names in the world of corporate communications have grown up off the back of traditional media. Their contacts are in traditional media. But the days of traditional media more or less controlling the production and distribution of news and information are over. Everyone can publish now, and distribute around the world, to be found on Google, through Google alerts or to be followed on RSS readers. New skills, new contacts, new agencies are required in order to prosper in this new communications ecosystem.
Previous significant changes in our culture, such as the introduction of the railways and the printing press, required significant investments in physical infrastructure. But driven by software, the changes expressed through the explosion of social media keep coming. There will be more disruption to established industries as social media goes mainstream. People are publishing content for the first time, joining communities, sharing content and realising their own power.
At the same time, organisations are having to experience how they can connect with their customers through social media, and this touches everything we do in organisations. It’s not just a job for the media department, it extends across HR, customer relations, legal departments, product development, and supply chains.
This is also not just a question of companies having to skip a generation to deal with what is going on. Everyone is using Facebook now. Every demographic is participating. Teenagers might be technically literate but they are not socially literate and don’t understand brand management issues.
In a entertaining and intelligent presentation, Anthony Mayfield explores these issues in more depth. It’s well worth a listen if you want to gain more of an understanding of the background of social media.
Some other posts you'll find interesting:
- Why PR isn’t working
- Forrester forecasts continuing shift to social media
- The future of PR and social media