Social Media

On April 30, 1939,
Franklin Roosevelt became the first American president to appear on television
at the New York World’s
Fair. The first TV sets went on sale the
next day and RCA/NBC began regular daily broadcasts.

According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2004, the last year
for which figures are available, there were 268 million televisions in the United States. Zero to more than ¼ billion in just 68 years. Not bad.

It’s hard to say exactly when the Internet actually began,
but let’s say that the introduction of the first web browser, Mosaic, which
made the web usable to non-technical types is as good a date as any. That would be 1993, just fourteen years
ago.

According to Internet World Stats, 69% of Americans now use
the Internet.  That’s 232.6 million people. There are more than a billion Internet users
in the world. Just as our kids and
grandkids can’t imagine a time when there wasn’t television, a whole new
generation is coming up who can’t remember when there wasn’t an Internet.

The amazing thing is the rapid pace of hardware and software
development and the obsolescence of existing technology. Where that first 1939 RCA television would
still work if you could find one, computers built just a few years ago don’t
have the hard drive capacity or the memory to run today’s programs.  Microsoft recommends 1228 megabytes of RAM
and at least 1.5 gigabytes of disc space just to run Windows XP/

Disposal of obsolete computers is becoming a huge problem,
or a huge opportunity depending on if you’re a glass half-full or half-empty
kind of person.

 So, what’s the point, Mr. Wizard? Why the history lesson?

Here’s the thing. Your customers, especially your future customers, are power users of the
latest technology. They don’t read the
newspaper. They don’t watch the news on
television. They watch MTV and ESPN, but
mostly they get their information from the web. And not from the traditional news machines, they get their news from one
another. It’s called “social networking”
or “social media”.

 Wikipedia
(a social media tool itself) defines social media as” the online  technologies and practices that people use to share content, opinions, insights,
experiences, perspectives, and media themselves.

Social
media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video.
The social media sites typically use tools like message boards, forums, podcasts, bookmarks, communities, wikis, weblogs, etc.   

While
young people are embracing this new technology, you don’t have to be a “teenage
techie” to get on the social media bandwagon. In fact, a lot of the users of this new technology are anything but kids. Blogging is a form of social media
and you’re reading a blog right now!

Many
of us “old timers” are listening to podcasts, subscribing to FaceBook, and using
Wikipedia to find answers to our questions every single day. Based on the past growth history of the
Internet, there’s no telling where the new technology is going to take us.

Over
the next several days we’ll be looking at some of these new tools. Even if you don’t own an iPod, or if you have
no interest in looking at video clips on every subject imaginable, stay with us. These things WILL find their way into your
business sooner or later and if you have some knowledge of what’s going on, you’ll
be way ahead of your competition.

Tomorrow:  Blogs

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2 Responses

  1. At what point would a store think about hiring someone to do all the advertising stuff that has been suggested. It all sounds really great but somedays I barley have time to eat lunch. Sure I could squeese some time from here and there but are you really going to be able to do it right so it doesn’t look like you through it together. How do others do some or all of the things you suggest we do to get more people in our doors.Thanks

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