I used to be a disc jockey and once I was given a “white label” record to play.Picture courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jon-kristian/
The record was a recording of Dire Straits to play on my radio show. I didn’t rate the music called “sultans of swing” and I predicted that the band would “never make it”. Since my public prediction Dire Straits have gone on to four Number One albums, 22 platinum records, four Grammy awards and three Brit awards. So perhaps my ability to predict things is not that great…!Picture courtesy: ZoranVeselinovicvia Wikimedia Commons
But it’s not just me who cannot predict the future. Back in 1981 Bill Gates reportedly said that 640k of memory would be enough for anyone. Today you can get pocket drives for a couple of terabytes for less than a ticket to a West End show, Indeed, this presentation is more than 4Mb. So even with all his technical know-how, the boss of Microsoft was unable to predict where computing would take us.
Predicting the future is not easy. Who at the beginning of 2008, when the world was in financial bliss, would have said that within months we would have headlines like these? Few people predicted the financial chaos that begin towards the end of 2008. Indeed, we had been told that boom and bust had ended. Whoops.
At the beginning of 2006 you would have been a very brave individual to have predicted that Facebook would become a worldwide phenomenon. Indeed, it did not even launch to the public until September 2006. A year later it had 100,000 business pages but it was another two years before Facebook reached 100m users and another four years before it broke the one billion marker.
Predicting what is likely to happen with social media is a bit like trying to tell fortunes. There are so many variables, so many people involved that almost anything you say could well come true at some stage in the future. Indeed, the very presence of social media has allowed software engineers to develop more ideas, faster than ever before in history. Plus those ideas can be turned into products with almost no real financial investment. Trying to work out what might happen in the future with social media is less practical than it was trying to predict financial headlines back in 2008.
Thankfully, the Gartner Hype Cycle can help. Gartner is a technology research company which established this cycle of activity with technologies*. The hype cycle has five phases:Technology TriggerPeak of Inflated ExpectationsTrough of DisillusionmentSlope of EnlightenmentPlateau of ProductivityDifferent technologies travel at varying rates through this cycle, but research shows that all technologies go through all these phases.* http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/methodologies/hype-cycle.jsp
In 2013 I have placed social media technologies on a hype cycle.Technology triggers – Vine, Highlight, Planwise, Quora, Google+, PinterestPeak of Inflated Expectations – Twitter, Facebook, FoursquareTrough of disillusionment – Skype, DeliciuousSlope of enlightenment – Email, LinkedIn, SlidesharePlateau of productivity – YouTube, WordPress
How you use social media depends upon what you want to achieve and which type of activity you want to engage in. Do you want to:BroadcastLocateShareRelateTalkDifferent social media have a different emphasis and so you need to choose which medium according to your requirements.
Another way of looking at this is to consider the constant surrounding nature of interactions and conversations and how these are conducted using different devices, often mobile.Added to the mix is the different ways people engage with social media, such as buying and then recommending or playing and then sharing or networking and then publishing.It is a complex mix
Which is why you must be able to answer this question: what is your precise target objective for social media usage?Simply being on social media is not enough. You need to know exactly what you are trying to achieve.
Kiwi Thinking has a social objective of learning from its customers
Feel Good Ripple is merely a way for Service to monitor customer happiness
IFA Life has an objectives of sharing knowledge
The problem is, objectives can often go out of the window because humans are naturally attracted to new fresh things. With so many new, fresh social media websites arriving almost weekly it means that you can get easily distracted.
Which is why you need blinkers – focus only on your target, ignore everything else no matter what anyone says or what chit chat you hear on social networks…!
Don’t get misled by the nonsense
But do consider what might happen if you do not use social media. Here is the Chievely Services at Newbury where I received bad customer service.
This is what I Tweeted, adding negatively to the Moto reputation and seen by over 20,000 people.They were not using Twitter effectively.So even though you must be focused you cannot ignore social media at all now, because it is not ignoring you.That’s why you need to develop a strategic plan which is what our next speaker will be discussing.
You and Social Media 2013 Essential Changes You Cannot Ignore