We’re in the midst of a social media revolution that threatens to reshape the Middle East. The impact of this revolution appears to be transforming media, marketing and advertising in ways that are not yet fully understood.
In the past the advertiser ruled. Now the consumer has the upper hand and a two-way conversation has replaced yesterday’s pitch fest.
I learned a little about what to expect in a revolution as a history major in college. After reading leading works about the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution and other revolutions involving third world nations, I came away with one key lesson: the only constant in a revolution is change.
Already the current media revolution has wreaked havoc on traditional media – newspapers, television, radio and advertising. In recent years, Google and other search engines led the way. But now with the emergence of giant social media networks, all the rules have changed.
Now real people can publish their own messages, pages, pictures and videos and they no longer tolerate one-way conversations.
These dramatic changes have left whole industries in disarray. For example, I belong to a group of published authors on LinkedIn where the big question is will the printed book survive? With the introduction of the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad, these writers are rightfully asking how these changes and the growing acceptance of eBooks will affect their livelihood.
Staying on top of all of this change is a daunting task for any business. I can write something only to find that some new wrinkle has altered the landscape entirely.
Several recent studies suggest that we are closer to the beginning of this revolution than the end. I suspect that if we could travel 50 years into the future we might not recognize the media and marketing vehicles.
As a student of history, I would never have imagined that a revolution that began in 1917 with the deposing of the Russian Czar would ultimately culminate in the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. As a kid, I used one of those black typewriters with round keys and no power source. No way could I have imagined reading a book on a wireless device that could pull new content out of thin air?
My point in all of this is that you should expect change. In business school, they teach you to not only plan for opportunity, but for the worst case scenario as well. This is not an environment where you can grow complacent.
To get a better idea of what I mean, you should read two recent posts on ClickZ.com, a site I monitor to stay up on changes in the Internet Marketing space.
Just when the experts think they have it all figured out, some new innovation changes everything.
While you don’t want to respond to every new twist or turn, you do need to adapt to the sweeping changes with strong headwinds. And I suspect that social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube will point the way to the future.
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