Shaq has 623,000+ twitter followers. Twitter and Facebook are growing at exponential rates every quarter. Hell even Barack Obama, the leader of the free world, has a Twitter account. Social this. Social that. We get it? We have this new “social media” thing figured out. It’s a way to market and retain customers, right? Engage them in the “conversation”. It is going to kill the traditional mediums of advertisers like newspapers and TV commercials. Facebook, Twitter, etc are all changing everything in media. Right?
Let me interject that us “old fogies”, you know all of us over 18, don’t get it. We are missing the boat on this new “social media” craze. I’m old enough to have teenagers. While grounding them from a computer (myspace, facebook, etc) causes minor grief, grounding them from their mobile phone is a DEATH SENTENCE. I have had them tell me it will ruin their life. Why? Because they get “social networks”. Social networks are about people, REAL LIVE PEOPLE.
A mobile phone goes where I go and lets me interact in real time. It’s real interaction on a portable device connecting me to a networked world. When those of us building the infrastructure of the future get that, the opportunities will become endless. Let me give some examples.
Example 1. Soccer Time?
My oldest daughter plays competitive soccer and has a game this weekend. I ask her where and when the game will take place. She shrugs and replies, “I don’t know”. Then whips out her phone. Five minutes go by and I get up and go into my office. I look through my email to find the url to the team website. I start to load the page and while it’s loading she pops in and says, “Game is at 10:00am on Saturday at Reach 11. Taylor’s mom says that SR 51 freeway is closed to take SR 101 instead. Kylie said that we are wearing blues, with our white socks and Monica’s dad said to remind you that club dues are due this week.” I would have NEVER gotten all that information from the website, but one text message to an entire team and my daughter got a very detailed, relevant and human set of responses in a matter of minutes.
Example 2. Science Questions
My youngest daughter was doing a science project and needed to know why blood is red. My wife popped on twitter and posed the question. Quickly she got several responses. One of the responses was from licensed medical doctor who happens to be a surgeon. How often do/did you have a surgeon help you with your science homework?
Google if you aren’t already shitting your pants, you should be at least stocking up on Depends. Adding social human interaction to search queries could be the very thing that knocks you off your thrown of search domination. I know my kids already use cha-cha or their personal network over google for everyday questions.
This of course is just one use of an authentic, mobile, real-time, distributed and social network. Add to the mix smart phone technologies that are adding GPS and video/audio broadcasting and we need to ask ourselves can we start to think like 14 year olds? They don’t have a predisposition to use technology as it was “designed”. Instead they exploit it to get what they need out of it. If you want a “social media” expert, I suggest you look at the local High School. After all isn’t high school where you live or die by your “social status”.