Back to the Past!
I recently read a thought-provoking blog post by Jeff Bullas, headlined “Why Social Media Will Disappear”. (great example of a headline that hooks you!) Basically the gist of it was that “social media” as we call it at the moment, will very shortly encompass all forms of media. Let’s explore this further.
Many of you reading this won’t remember the days of black and white television – those cathode ray tube TVs that measured about two feet from front to back, with a screen inches thick but only a foot across. You had to sit quite close to the screen to be able to see anything, but I can clearly remember “Watch with Mother” favourites such as “Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men”, “Andy Pandy” and my real favourite “Muffin the Mule”. The arrival of colour TV in our house in the late 1960s was very exciting. But the most exciting TV experience of my childhood and teenage years was undoubtedly the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 - we were on holiday in Cornwall and I watched it all on a tiny black and white TV!
A few more of you might remember the famous BBC colour test card – apparently it lasted from 1967-1984.
Back in those days, the only other things you could do while watching TV were sewing, knitting, eating or drinking (any others I’ve forgotten??) But just think what many of us do now – we have our laptops, tablets, or mobile phones with us, and we’re constantly interacting with friends to comment on what we’re seeing on screen. I’m not a fan of X Factor and during the last series I got quite annoyed on Saturday nights as my Facebook and Twitter feeds were taken over by the armchair critics! On the other hand, I’m sure I annoy a lot of people when I comment on tennis and rugby matches
Traditional vs “new” Media
Getting back to business as it were – in the 1960s, there was a limited range of media available for advertising / promotional purposes. Basically there were newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, cinema, and billboards. Apart from perhaps local papers, most of these would have been prohibitively expensive for a small business. Word of mouth would have been the best form of advertising – as it still is, to a large extent.
But, in addition to the above, let’s consider the range of media available in 2012:
- Internet radio
- Mobile websites
- Satellite TV & radio
- Online video
- Online magazines
- File sharing
When you think about it, in 2012, you really only need one device to access all these new forms of media – a smartphone or tablet. The number of people accessing traditional media will shrink dramatically – just look at the exponential increases in sales of devices such as the iPad! “I want it all and I want it now”, as the late great Freddie Mercury sang, has never been more true. We do want – and expect – instant access to news, weather, sport, films, music, books – and this is now possible.
Coming back to the title of this post – the future of social media is that social media will simply become “media”. In the blog post mentioned above, Jeff Bullas refers to “channels of convergence” and says that all media will need to be created with the “three screens” of TV, computer, and mobile in mind. Social media will become all-encompassing. Already, we’re able to share a huge amount of online information to a wide range of social networks. If you have no social sharing buttons on your website or blog nowadays, don’t expect many visitors! When I read a blog post I expect to be able to share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus at the very least.
With this in mind, when we create media, we need to do so with the knowledge that it must be shareable across all possible social networks. More than ever, it’s vital for businesses to establish a presence on the major social networks and to maintain that presence by frequent interaction and engagement with their communities. And, more than ever, a business must create and maintain a central hub, i.e. its website and blog, to be the point from which all content is derived and shared.
Do you still find traditional media of value? Do you intend creating more shareable content in 2012? Let me know in the comments…..
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