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.

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