Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #7 Where is social media heading?

Social media is changing fast. Facebook buys Instagram. Google+ changes its look and feel, again. Twitter gets more visual and is used to assess the public mood and soon it will help predict riots and stock market rallies.

All these are real stories in the past few months. Try searching for #socialmedia stories on Twitter and you will be assaulted by wave after wave of developments in social media. Every minute.

But where will all this lead us? I see three clear trends, each of which could lead to big developments:

1. The visual web. Instagram video, Google glasses and local YouTube2 feeds will allow us to travel almost anywhere and experience everything as ultimate-voyeurs, but beyond that expect artistic photojournalism, fashion fabrics that change colour, people tracking, your visual life on a site, celebrity holograms at your local fashion outlet and rebranding sites that will let you see how you might appear with a few nicks and tucks.

2. The auto posting trend. Expect your phone to auto post your location to Eightsquare, your preferences from your GoogleGlasses2 to your life-blog and your audio-to-text tweets to Twitter2. Going beyond that we will be tracked by location posting sites for curfew, remote working and spouse spying applications.

3. The digital divide. The erosion of the middle class will lead to a divide between those of us who pursue hourly deals on energy and fuel and Bigger Mac deals and those few of us who need hologram security services, auto-taser fencing and  helicopter extraction from urban locations. Security zones will extend to elite stores, clubs and hotels, all invisible to the rest of us by their anonymous exteriors.

Much of the above will happen before 2020. If you want to create a start-up focusing on what we will be the number one social media brand in that year, consider incorporating some of the above elements.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hand selling with social media

I believe we are in a new age of hand selling or screen selling (screlling?). I have heard it said that one of the main benefits of meeting a good sales person is that you can have items recommended to you. You can also get to see their faces.

But social media allows you to meet and greet individual buyers and answer their questions from all over the world. I get about 2000 hits a day from many countries.

The main benefits of screlling are IMO:

* You can meet people from all over the world and communicate with them. Google Translate means you can even talk to people in many languages.

* You can engage long term with people, answering different questions over time and building up relationships.

* You can keep a track of people's names or identities so you can tell them when your new product or service comes out.

* You don't have to waste time and money travelling around and you won't get wet if it's raining.

The downsides are:

* You mightn't make make strong connections with people, as you don't get to meet people personally. However I believe it takes more than one physical meeting to make friends with people. Multiple meetings and shared interests are just the start. And long term social media friendships can be meaningful too.

* You don't get to see the cool sunsets from a different town.

And that's it, is it?

Ok, here's your challenge. Can you tell me what other downsides there are to not meeting customers for smaller value items? Aside from missing the smell of the fish, that is!

Thanks! I hope you enjoy these posts and I hope you can  tell me about other downsides I may have missed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #6 Can social media bring about social change or not?

There are a number of commentators who belittle social media as an agent of change. I disagree with that view.

For me social media is as much an instrument of change as radio was in the 2nd world war. It is simply a means of mass communication - a some-to-many communication system where about 10% of users create about 90% of the volume.

As for creating social change, the facts are that during the week President Mubarak resigned the number of tweets about political change increased ten fold in Egypt. That fact was taken from a study by a Professor Howard at the University of Washington reported here.

In addition videos featuring protest and politics were watched over 5 million times and the amount of online content about the political situation increased dramatically.

And at the time of the Tunisian revolution 20% of blogs were discussing the president, Ben Ali.

This wave of communication about social change spread throughout the region creating movements in a wide variety of Arab countries. Governments tried to crack down on social media in the region, but that seems only to have created a greater urge for information.

Now, it is true that we do not know how the new governments of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt will perform in the long run for their citizens, but to deny that social media acted as a communication tool, which aided change seems willfully blind.

Before this period the despotic governments in Arab countries seemed immovable. Now everyone in the region knows that social change is possible. Social media helped to make that a reality.

To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!