Social, Social, Everywhere…
The recent massive success of Barack Obama in garnering support online via social networks has brought what was already an emerging trend from the early adopters to the masses–or a lot more of them, anyway.
There is certainly no doubt that the power of these social networks is only starting to be realized, even though the internet has been a social phenomenon since its inception. Remember DARPANet? (For those of you much younger than I, it was the precursor of the internet.) Originated to help scientists share data and aid in each others research, it blossomed into such things as bulletin boards, which in turn have become Facebook and Twitter.
Whether or not anyone in particular agrees with it, big brands have discovered many of these social networks, and are using them (for good or evil, depending on your point of view) to talk directly to consumers with a much more personal voice.
David Pogue, the technology writer for NYTimes, has several recent posts on Twitter, and the amazing power of tapping the collective conscious.
Are we approaching the time when not having some kind of social network presence will be like not having a website? Maybe. But, whether we are or not, businesses that want to connect directly with their users (not just their markets), now have incredible ability to do so. You have to want to deal with the messiness of it, and be willing to hear what your users have to say, good or bad.
Is it polished and mature yet? No way. And, for those businesses who see the opportunity the way Barack’s team did, it can have incredible payoffs.
For more on social networking in Obama’s campaign, see our previous post “Politicians Get Social.”