My boy, Alexander, is almost four years and five months old. In one month (Jan. 2010) Facebook had almost one unique visitor (134 million) for each second Alexander has been alive. That is a 95% growth over Jan. 2009.
Twitter is also four years old and it has over 23 million unique visitors the same month. Their growth during this last year was ‘slightly’ bigger than Facebook. Twitter grew by 294% in one year. By the time my son is eight, Twitter plans to have over 1 billion users.
It is staggering to see how many people are connected in the Social Media world, and even more staggering to see how much it is changing every month. A person who graduates from college this May from a four-year Business or Marketing program started college before Twitter existed. Business colleges are trying to teach students about a world that is undergoing an extreme makeover every six months and they recognize the importance of social media in business. Fortunately for students at U of NV, Dr. Simmons (www.bretlsimmons.com) is staying on the top of the tsunami of social media and how it impacts Branding. Dr. Bret Simmons of the University of Nevada Business School calls Twitter “the center of the Social Media universe.”
But what about the rest of us. Why should we care about Social Interactive Media (SIM)?
SIM: End of Innocence
Imagine two people. Each want to start a bicycle shop in Davis, California. One rents space, puts up his business sign, advertises in the local paper and puts out flyers.
The other person does all that and also has a Facebook page, Tweets regularly on various items of note for bicycle enthusiasts, has a website with a shopping cart feature that allows people to order parts and purchase bicycles, and the owner has a blog about cycling in and around Davis. Who do you think will have more success? All other things being equal, the one who has better SIM smarts will have the advantage.
But it doesn’t just stop with business marketing. SIM is influencing opinion, shaping discussions, and in general changing everyone’s life whether they participate in the new media or not. Life is being changed because so many people are now involved in Facebook, Twitter, and other SIMs. A person can choose not to be involved and disconnect themselves from all forms of new technology. There will be a segment of our population that does exactly that; however, they will find themselves more and more out of touch with a world that isn’t waiting for them. No one knows what our society will look like in five years, but for those who unplug themselves from society, I think they will find the world is a lonely, foreign place.