The Social Networking Revolution

Look at what’s changed over the last decade.

Ten years ago the web was slow and essentially one-way.  Web sites cost a lot to develop and you needed expert coders to do it.  The Web 1.0 Revolution was all about selling products in online “shops” at lower cost.

Now we have social networking and it has all changed: broadband and smartphones, iPhones and Blackberries enable rich-content connectivity everywhere all the time.  It’s really easy to publish, to blog and to twitter.  What has changed is that consumers now expect to be involved.  The web is now a means of two-way communication.

The real winners in the last year have been Facebook and Twitter.  There were 177,000 tweets in the first hour after the iPad announcement in the US.  There are 3.5billion pieces of content shared each week on Facebook.   There are 50,000 applications connecting to the Twitter API.

What does this mean?  I think it means a radical change in our position as consumers – we are now also participants.  We can tweet if we get bad service; we can join social groups on Facebook;  we can research prices online, and compare the value of competing products and post reviews and ratings.

What does it mean for companies and producers?  Well, people matter more now than technology.  We need to be pro-active in solving problems and to be open in managing customer problems and interactions.  We need to manage all channels: online, mobile, sales, services and customer relations in an integrated way.

People expect to be treated as individuals.  That means they want personalisation and customisation, and when they ask questions they expect answers.

This means that IT, marketing, sales, and customers service have to join up much more seamlessly in the new social networking revolution, than ever before.

About paulcoby
I am CIO at the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. I was Chair of SITA - the airline solutions company owned by the Air Transport Community - for 11 years. I am also on the Boards of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank and Pets at Home. Previously I was Head of BA Services and for 10 years CIO at British Airways. I am interested in Roman and Military History. The views expressed are entirely my own not my employers.

4 Responses to The Social Networking Revolution

  1. Glenn Morgan says:

    Paul, Great post, one point I would add is it is more about the Real Time Web and practices which enable users to receive information as soon as it is published by its authors. Delayed news will no longer be acceptable users will gravitate to the quickest sources of news, wherever they may be. Generation Y won’t want email customer service, or bother waiting for a call centre to answer or open, or Customer Relations to respond in a few days/weeks again with email, they will want immediacy to the rant, question or compliment, how many teenagers regularly use email now, hardly any! Tools like Twitter Search and Facebook offer people to rapidly broadcast their updates, reactions and news with true immediacy, the web population will adopt these real-time sources and favor them ahead of delayed or filtered search engines, including RSS, and of course, edited mass media. Some trends driving this are Real Time Analytics this will be hot, see twitter user @GlobalIM a Real Time Global Display of Terrorism & Other Suspicious Events. Real Time Search will kill Google and Bing unless they get on the bandwagon just look at you example in your post hashtag #iPAD on twitter would have been far better real time than either Google or Bing. Real Time ecommerce is emerging as an example German company Apnoti http://www.apnoti.com/ indexes real-time pricing for consumers in the U.S and Germany. The primary benefit of their service is to help consumers find dramatic price fluctuations and to take advantage of pricing errors on various ecommerce sites. -Glenn

  2. Martin Collings says:

    Paul, I only recently started following your blog, but today I have plugged it to my readers in the airline direct sales channel space. Only suggestion, and it is a small one, is it would be great if the comments from readers were more prominent on the site and not buried within each individual post. Your post above is all about social, and this would definitely give the blog more of a sense of community and participation amongst readers.

    • Martin Collings says:

      Paul, I’m very impressed – came back to your site today to watch your 4 C’s presentation and saw that the readers comments are now highlighted throughout the site. Thanks for taking my idea on board; I’m enjoying reading (and watching, in today’s case) your blog.

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