Social media has forever changed the landscape of marketing and social connections have changed dramatically with innovations and break-throughs in technology.
Johannes Gutenberg started the Printing Revolution, 1439, with the invention of movable type printing.
Adding fuel to the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution, it made sending the same message to the masses easier. In the late 1800’s, if you wanted to send a message to a specific person you would write a letter and send it on the pony express. They would then gallop from station to station by horse until they delivered the letter. Once the telegraph and telephone entered mainstream use, speaking with someone at a distance became more convenient. AM and FM radio then came about, making it easier for companies to broadcast. Television was the next great invention that complimented radio, adding video with sound.
These methods revolutionized the way messages could be sent; however, they were still conventional for getting word out to groups or having a conversation. The major flaw with these systems was the inability to do both. Basically, you either could broadcast the same message to a group, or have a specific conversation with an individual.
Survival of the convening
The internet gained a lot of momentum in the public sector in the 1990’s. The World Wide Web became the first super highway of dynamic communications. It was the first time conversation and groups could come together in one place. This meant the convergence of messages, phone calls, radio, tv and much more.
In the old days, companies would produce high-budget media to send the same message to everyone. This took a lot of money and was hard to do, which made competition limited. With social media, these barriers have disappeared. The internet makes everyone a producer and a consumer of information at the cost of an internet connection.
What does this all mean for my company? It means the begining of the end for companies that seek to control. It also means the survival of companies that embrace convening their audiences. It means realizing that you can try to hide, delete, and control social conversation all you want, but it will only be a matter of time before it pops up somewhere else. Most of the time things will pop up on the web and in places out of our control. Then before you know it the message you didn't want to announce has now gone viral.
How can my company adapt? Take action to show your audience you care. A simple press release, writing a blog, or having some way to show that you hear your audience will go a long way. There will be times that your company will have to make decisions that aren’t going to make some people happy, but that is not the point. People don’t care about what you know; they care about how much you care. Don’t sweep your problems under the rug! Emotions are capricious. And feelings change quickly and continuously. It is a lot easier to act yourself into a new way of feeling, than to feel yourself into a new way of acting.
Always interested in hearing your opinions too. How has your company adapted to convene audiences?