Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Ilana Rabinowitz, Vice-President of Marketing for Lion Brand Yarn Company.
I can imagine what it must have been like when the telephone first became available for private citizens and people started using it. They probably had a story to tell about every phone call and how incredible it was to be talking to someone who was actually in another part of town.
It’s easy to imagine, because some time in 1992 I hooked up a modem to my “home computer” and dialed up the internet for the first time. I remember the twangy, hissing sound of my computer making a phone call. It was an awe inspiring moment that is etched in my memory. My computer was “talking” to the outside world. I felt like the kid in the movie War Games, who hacked the defense system computers. It was the sound of something big happening.
- Image by marketingfacts via Flickr
Now we have something just as revolutionary — social media. You can use it to keep up with friends, to build a business, to help elect a president, to learn a new skill, or to raise money for charity. Look at all the cool stuff you can do with social media! It’s true. Social media connects us to other people in new ways. It is as important an innovation as the telephone or the internet. When you see the movie The Social Network, it is easy to understand the feeling of excitement in the room at the moment that Facebook is launched.
Five years after that launch, a large percentage of the world is on Facebook and you’d be hard pressed to find a web site that doesn’t have a few social media buttons on it.
And yet, I say, it’s time for us to get over it. But don’t mean that it’s over. I mean, get over the novelty. A couple of years from now, social media is going to completely integrate itself into our online and offline lives (in that future we will not need to make the distinction between our online and offline lives). In a couple of years (or sooner) social media will infuse virtually everything we do. It will connect seamlessly into the way that that we learn, advise, listen, play, shop, travel and plan. We won’t even call it it social media any more than people say “I’ll call you on the telephone” or “I’ll look it up on the internet.” They just say, “I’ll call you” or “I’ll look it up.”
We need to get beyond the point where we see social media as a separate, extraordinary part of what we as organizations do. We need to think about how we use the tools of social media in a way that is going to be a natural part of how we as consumers and we as businesses do everything.
Social media will evolve quickly. Right now we are at the point where people are using and developing the tools, sometimes clumsily, occasionally brilliantly but we will figure it out. As the information from Facebook and other social sites gets wired into everything from search to shopping, that layer of information will inform everything and it will shape our world.
What I am also saying is that if people in your organization are talking about how social media is a time waster or are still worried about the ROI of it, or think it is a passing fad they will have to get over it. Hopefully those are not the people who hold the purse strings.
Editor’s Note: We will feature occasional guest posts from smart peeps from time to time. This is one from one, namely Ilana Rabinowitz, Vice-President of Marketing for Lion Brand Yarn Company.
Rabinowitz approaches marketing with an uncompromising focus on the customer and a grounding in psychology and neuroscience to understand what motivates people to make buying decisions. She believes that businesses need to develop their own media as a means of creating a branded experience for customers. She has spoken at digital marketing conferences including Web 2.0, Blogher Business and Internet Retailer. She is the author of a book about psychology, a book about mindfulness and co-author of a book about the culture of knitting.