Not many born before 1990 would argue with the assertion that, in our lifetime, the Internet has changed just about everything. Here are a few examples:
A list of fundamental societal changes brought about by the Internet could go on and on.
Almost no one would deny the profundity of that change. But even more profound is the fundamental change of the Internet that is well underway, though some still don’t recognize it.
I’m talking about social media. It’s not just a fad or something that your grandchildren do. It’s what some have called “the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution.”
Facebook is about a decade old. YouTube started in 2005. But a surprising number of people over age 40 still “don’t do Facebook,” or “don’t do social media.” Why is this surprising? Consider this:
Ok, so Facebook is by far the largest online social network. Still not convinced you should care? Let’s look at some statistics from another popular social media outlet – YouTube.
I was an early adopter of social media. I had a MySpace account! By 2006, MySpace had 100 million users and, as recently as 2008, it was considered the leading online social network. By mid-2013, MySpace was scrambling for its survival, overtaken by its rival, Facebook. But, a recent study concluded that many young people are eschewing Facebook because their parents and grandparents are now active Facebookers. So Facebook is constantly scrambling to re-invent itself too (see below) – and avoid the fate of MySpace. The pace of change in the world of social media is breathtaking.
As a result, in less than 10 years, social media has risen from nothing and already transformed from what it originally was. And it’s transforming all over again, and even faster. It’s likely to be something else altogether in another five years. What social media is, and what it’s becoming, is changing everything.
The scope of change is too widespread to capture in a single article, but consider just a few anecdotes, then watch the video at the end of this post if you’re still not bought in:
The point is that social media is a force unto itself, and if you’re in any kind of business, you simply must reckon with it. It’s changing everything, and it’s changing at breakneck speed.
If, up until now, you’ve been content to bury your head in the sand and declare that you “don’t do social media,” it’s time to reconsider. In fact, it’s past time.
If your business doesn’t have a social media strategy, 2015 is the year to start. Seek top management buy-in and brainstorming on measurable business objectives, assemble a diverse team from a cross-section of your business (this is not just an IT or marketing issue), listen to your customers, set a course, and join the revolution.
*see video here