Normal is not normal. #wn2011

What’s Next 2011?

Why is there a social media tsunami coming?

Permit me to explain.

Firstly, let’s understand the term “social media”.  It’s nothing new.  In fact, I would argue that it is quite old!  Moreover, I would also argue that everyone of you reading this is already an expert in it!

Reason:  because social media = collecting and sharing information that leads to the co-creation of value.

You already do this via normal conversation and interaction in your daily life, and have done so since you uttered your first word as a child!

What is new is technology. And technology is changing the way in which we not only communicate, but the way we are.

Technology is changing Politics, Business, Vocabulary, Finance, Sociology, Communication – it’s defining the way we pay for stuff, the way we choose, the way we play. It’s creating business. Above all it’s having a significant and increasing pathological effect on us all.

Technology is touching all of us, at all ages, and in multiple ways.

Lets look at some figures:

  • There are 900 million searches done on Google every day. Over 75% of these searches are turning up “socially generated content”. This means that typical web sites are being overlooked. Only 10 years ago this did not exist.
  • There are 6.7 billion people in world and of them 2 billion are actively on-line (not just passively). By 2020 the figure is predicted to be over 5 billion people actively on-line.
  • Digital products account for 7.2% of the GDP of this country (UK), ahead of construction, education and transport industries. By 2015 the estimate will be 10%.
  • Companies making the greatest use of the web for sales and marketing grew at an average of 4.1% annually.
  • Data shows that fully networked enterprises are not only more likely to be market leaders or to be gaining market share, but also demonstrate management practices that lead to margins higher than those of companies using the web in limited ways.

So what we have here is akin to a revolution and we’re all part of it – all of us. We are all using technology. We are all accelerating the effect of it. We are all responsible for what its doing – and none of us should be frightened of it.

In fact, I would argue that we should all be embracing it. From a business perspective it can deliver better results at a lower cost. It can help companies gain traction, achieve smarter R&D as well as superb PR.

It will deliver “real time” information to an enterprise, allowing that enterprise to move with the sentiment of their market – in “real time”.  Moreover, this information can be gained at at lower costs for higher returns.

It will allow enterprises to become thought leaders in their market and, subsequently, deliver products or services that mirror that leadership – at lower costs for higher returns.

Businesses have never had it so easy!   To gain so much access to so many clients for such little cost.

Technology not only allows us to have an opinion but allows us to listen, and doing this can have a major positive effect on any organisation. Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google) said last year (Techonomy conference Lake Tahoe Aug 2010) – “Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of time to 2003″ – that’s five exabytes a day!!!!

Let me repeat that – we create more information in two days than we have done since the dawn of time through to 2003.

Conclusion: Why should we care?

We know that the web and technology is not going away. It’s not just going to change the way businesses work, it already has. It’s going to get even more interesting over the coming years and businesses are already making the web and technology work for them.  We also know that it is going mobile and with the introduction of NFC (Near Field Communications) to the iPhone (mid 2011) this will only grow the use of mobile technology exponentially.

Your customers now and in the near future are all using technology and the web, they want to, they prefer it and they are very used to using it – in fact they prefer it to how they used to get information and product. It is becoming “normal” in their lives.

Question: Is it “normal” in your business life?

At “What’s next 2011” we will be discussing where this has come from, why it is happening and where it is going. We will be delivering method, reason and fact. The “driver” is social media but technology and its resources is the “engine”.

It is the organisers intention for delegates of WN 2011 to leave the event with a sound understanding of how technology and the web is impacting on business, and feeling inspired to help their business leverage and optimise these amazing new business exposure channels.

See you there.


Boston Consulting Group
McKinsey Global Institute

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