Why The Internet and Social Media Really Have Made a Profound Difference On Everything

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changeimage 300x225 Why The Internet and Social Media Really Have Made a Profound Difference On EverythingThis past Veteran’s Day weekend I got the chance to visit my favorite Veteran, my 95.5 year-old Grandpa – Grandpa Bob. (BTW – I noticed that before you turn 10 and after 90 you count in half years – both my kids and my grandpa do it!) As I pulled out my cell phone to check and see when our cousin was going to meet us at the elder care facility Grandpa commented about how different the world has become. “Mobile phones are everywhere – you can find people no matter where they are,” he said. “Wow the world has changed, literally everything we do is different these days,” he continued. At some point all elders say something like this – but when I got to thinking about it – WOW I think almost everything has literally changed in the last 5-15 years! I am not sure if I can say this (I am not a historian ;-) ) – BUT I really do think that the changes we have experienced in this last decade or so has had an impact on so many fundamentals of what we do – like never before….

So why do I go into this here?- With so many of these changes – real, business relevant data has become available like NEVER before. Information about your customer’s behaviors, wants, dislikes, ideas, opinions, recommendations, fix-its, etc. are all there for you to understand, to react to, to engage on (and we can help you do it….) But I wanted to take the time in this post to just reflect on some of these changes…..the next few posts will talk about how it impacts business!

So here I start a list of things that have changed….it’s just a brainstorm of what comes to my mind right now – feel free to add to it, including your comments on how it impacts businesses….



The World Has Changed List (in no order)

1. How We Get in Touch: With 24/7 Mobile Connectivity finding someone, communicating with your kids, your friends, your customers, getting help in an emergency, etc. has totally changed. We can find people – if not via voice then via text anytime, anywhere. We can get all of our data via mobile…..do I have to tell my pizza on the beach story again? What about gathering people for a protest? – All done via mobile – wow!

2. Newspaper/Book/Mag Access: I used to get the newspaper everyday. Now I don’t. I don’t need to. From either my phone, iPad or PC I get all the news I need, on demand. Same with books, same with my trashy mags!

3. How We Shop/Buying on the Cheap: Since the late 90?s eCommerce has been around – but the level of growth of on-line spend in the last 5 years has been massive. Some say 1/2 of all holiday shopping is done online. On discounts and coupons…I was the person that tore them out and then they sat in a pile unused – now I don’t have to have the pile – I get them real-time when I need them….and through social media get them “pushed” to me via suggestions from friends and other shopping mavens.

4. How We Arrange Travel: Ah, no more waiting on the phone for the airline agent to answer, only to spend 20 min or more getting flights. No more calling travel agents and wondering if I am getting the best prices. Social pushes best prices to me (follow @jetblue on twitter!), sign-up for email promos too – they are great. And sites like @travelocity (also an @attensity customer!) not only help me schedule every facet in a jiffy – but they show we reviews and ratings along the way. Ahhhh!

5. How We Set-up Entertainment: Ever plan a dinner through OpenTable.com (if not you should try it); ever buy tickets to a movie, a concert, the ballet, the museum online? -Always right? I don’t do it any other way than online, typically on a site that also integrates in reviews and ratings.



6. How We Get Service: This is a personal favorite and if you look at some of my recent blog posts – one of the most revolutionary changes in my opinion. With this one – I always refer back to my mom. For everything from figuring out why her dishwasher was making a “funny noise” to getting instructions (off YouTube no less) to put up a mirror – customer service has changed forever with social media – period. The benefits to both consumers and enterprises on this one are countless.

7. Not Getting Lost: An ode to my GPS system – never lost anymore! That is fabulous. When you add to it the real-time traffic updates I get from my @google maps on my Android it’s truly awesome. Add to it the recommendations I get from other drivers in social media on best routes and well….ahhhh! No more fights with my hubby…see what I meant about profound?

8. Virtual Fashion Advice: OK – this is one we all need – really. The iPhone app that enables you to take a pic of yourself and then get real, free fashion advice, back on your mobile phone. The change here – no more are my 3 under 10 year old sons the arbitrators of what I wear. Thank you Glamour fastionistas for the much needed advice! Now if we could only get more people to use this :-) !

9. Making Decisions: Yes, this is actually on the list! There is really not a decision – whether medical, relationship based, career oriented, what to buy, when to wear it, etc. where thousands of other people, all over the world who have had to make that same decision have talked about their decision – pros/cons online somewhere. If there is a topic, guaranteed – there is a community for it.

10. Finding a Job/Finding a Boy/Girl Friend: Yes, both completely online, many social based (Linked-In, eHarmony, you know what I mean.)

I could go on….sharing photos, keeping in touch with family members that you might not want to spend 20 minutes on the phone with, but wouldn’t mind giving a “super poke” to on #FB, buying car-parts (a daily ritual of my car-obsessed father,) taking your pulse (same father found an Android app that takes your pulse via your Android phone – cool,) etc., etc.



What did I miss? Comments?

(Photo Credit: flightlessXbird)

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