In an earlier blog post we suggested that using the social media of the age was nothing new, and that today’s media social media channels were the latest manifestations of something that had been going on for centuries.
What technology has done with the social web (as always) is amplify and accelerate what’s possible.
If humans have used the social media of their generation, be they word of mouth, Socratic argument, couriers and messengers, hand-crafted books, printed books, trans-national trade, newspapers and magazines, the telegraph, radio, the telephone, television, satellites, the early Internet, and now broadband Internet, to communicate, engage, sell and prosper, then technology has always provided more options to act.
Each of these generational improvements strengthened the feedback loop compared to its predecessor, and communication became faster. The sales cycle got shorter and shorter, and the revenue generation became larger and larger.
The power shifted from the elite few providing the knowledge and products to the consumers. Prices altered, much eventually became a commodity, demands increased, lead-times shortened, supply chains lengthened.
And whereas it might have taken 10 years to connect one side of a country to another, now a supplier can connect with a customer anywhere within 10 seconds.
The arguments about what to do and when have also accelerated. We have a matter of weeks to consider and decide how to engage and make money using the social web. The decision-making process has also accelerated. We no longer have the luxury of time.
And so the argument is now one about strategy, process and tools, rather than whether, if or when.
The tighter the connection and the stronger the feedback loop between consumers and organizations, the better the ability to act and the more meaningful the intelligence on which those options are based.
If technology accelerates and amplifies, it also scales, which means that the technology chosen to provide insight, engagement and connectivity to consumers must also scale.
It must also make sense of the raw input too. Simplistically scaling data volumes provides little more than a much larger number.
So the debate finally becomes one of assessing the technology desired to understand and act upon the conversations on the social web, to provide the scale in sense and context needed to exploit these insights and opportunities, and to provide the feedback loop into the marketing and customer support systems.