Why social media matters?

The Luddites, fighting against change that was happening anyway
The Luddites, fighting against change that was happening anyway

There are two growing schools of thought with regard to social media.

School 1 – lets call them the Luddites
This social media lark isn’t for me. I am an estate agent, I sell widgets, I sell whatever. It’s all about wanky celebrities telling you what they’ve had for lunch isn’t it? Facebook is a load of teenagers that want to share their pointless pictures and get off with each other on the web, without meting each other and Google domaniates the search world and always will.

And there’s school 2
Lets call them sensible people, who understand that change is happening and happening fast. Those who don’t change will not survive. It’s a plain and simple fact.

I’ll steal a Charles Handy quote from my mate Tim Garratt’s ‘Adapt or Whither’ Blogpost here.

“If you boil water and drop a frog in it – it jumps out immediately. However, if you put that frog in a pot of cold water and slowly heat it, the frog adapts its body temperature to that of the water until at 100 degrees centigrade it boils alive”

It is a case of adapt or die. Those who don’t notice the change soon enough, will be left behind so completely, they will die.

Who would want to move into the printed media world right now?

Which is likely to grow fastest – printed or online media?

So I’ll give you some examples.

1. WordPress
They now provide more powerful and open source Content Management Systems (CMS) than almost anything else out there and it’s practically free. Their business plan is about selling small additional enhancements to many people for very little. We feel no pain in dealing with them and as I have shown here, they offer better customer service than anyone else in the CMS market anyway.

So traditional CMS is dead within the next few months or years. That’s a big or even huge market wiped out at a stroke. There were some bigger companies paying over £1m for a big CMS with less usbilty than WordPress offers now.

2. Traditional newspaper models
When Alexander Lebedev’s bought the London Evening Standard, according to the Guardian he paid £1. The Daily Mail & General Trust which owned the paper could see the writing on the wall in the paid regional daily newspaper sector and got out before the losses became too big. He has now switched it to a free model, so provides a great free product that has a chance of survival if it can grow its circulation again.

They were killed by their own Metro product distributed free in the mornings. They were damaged before this by us just getting out of the habit of reading papers and taking our news via all of the other media channels now open to us.

Evening papers are dependent on advertising revenue and with falling circulations, they couldn’t even attract the advertisers who are ALL switching to the more easily accountable online advertising routes.

There is still, without doubt a market for printed material, but it’s evolving fast and moving into niches rather than the mainstream. This was discussed in more detail here.

3. Printed books
I just didn’t get the point of e-books. I can’t say i’m going to own one anytime soon. I am an avid reader and I love printed books. My house and office is full of them. I love their smell their feel and the thought of sitting down to relax for a good read.

But there is a generation that doesn’t get it. Why would you carry hundreds of bulky books, when you can get them all on one good e-reader or Kindle?

And this is my point.

Its a generational change.

This generation are different. Like we as a generation are completely different to the generation before us. It’s called evolution.

It won’t happen overnight.

But it will happen.

This next generation won’t buy books, newspapers and they will not seek out products. Products will seek out them.

They will meet people on the Internet, like we met them at work, school, the pub or even out shopping.

Facebook is sure to add peer to peer video very soon and with over 300 million users already and growing fast, it will dwarf Skype and most other peer to peer communication tools. But it has a very young user base that will grow up knowing only this as their main tool to talk.

They will socialise online, as for many it will have become too expensive to get out and about. With retirement ages being raised across the world, to pay for our living longer, many of us will not be able to get about, unless we grow wheels.

It changes everything.

The world will be a different place and we need to recognise and act on this now.

This next generation will live in their convenient world of augmented reality and any brand owner who doesn’t see this can just hop into this nice cold pan of water I have waiting over here, whilst the world applies the heat.

Updated

Thanks to Tim Garratt for even more information on this.  He has pointed me towards an article in the London Times here which says that even the British legal system is having to change to reflect how the next generation behave. They are simply not used to sitting and listening and can only interact with an online interface. Help!

Updated again

This is a great YouTube video I picked up from the brilliant writers at Bitterwallet. It seems to back up what i’ve said above but is perhaps the first demonstration by the publishers that whatever the delivery method, people still value the content. I’m sure their right on this but if they’re not careful ad don’t adapt to these new delivery methods fast enough, the whole world will have moved on, before they even notice. And as Nobby pointed out in the comments below the article, in the very cleverly worded text, they cheated and at 1:23 added in a extra ‘of’ to the text so it makes sense when you read it backwards.

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WordPress is a brand that lives what it promises

Earlier today, I was helping a friend get a blog site set up, and as I have done before with my colleagues Mich and Abi, recommended that she do it using WordPress. I was telling her about how easy and foolproof it was to use and in the very best spirit of pride coming before a fall, I fell over. Big style.

I registered her blog, in her name, on my account.

That should be simple to move, surely all you need to do is delete it and then set it up in her name from scratch?

But you can’t. You have to contact customer services and I was dreading this. They were bound to be some faceless corporate who ignored my pleas for logic and common sense, who undid all my faith in their brand.

But no, just like all of their other brand behaviours, they were incredibly simple to use.

At 10.49 am I filled in the form, making it clear I was a bit embarrassed that you can see here. Even this is more nicely worded than almost any customer service contact form you have ever seen.

Wordpress customer contact form - showing my grovelling plea for help
WordPress customer contact form – showing my grovelling plea for help

13 minutes later, the very clever Hanni, replied back, having already sorted it, using the exact language you will find almost anywhere else throughout the WordPress site.

The helpful reply from the very clever Hanni at WordPress
The helpful reply from the very clever Hanni at WordPress

Any brand that can be this consistent in delivering its brand values, deserves huge success. I’m not just a fan any more, I’m a raving fan.

Thanks Hanni.

UPDATED

Many online brands are absolutely awful when it comes to working offline, but just to continue this story one stage further, WordPress have again proved they are the most human of online businesses. As is my usual trick, I let Hanni know that I had blogged about her and I even got a lovely reply. I am now a raving fan with bells and whistles on.

I've made Hanni's from WordPress's day
I’ve made Hanni’s from WordPress’s day