Cheep Cheap – December 9, 2011
While in some countries Twitter may be a powerful tool of the masses to effect political reforms, it remains in the West as a playground for the rich and famous and a source of mindless entertainment for the rest of us. You probably shouldn’t write off the micro-blogging service yet, however. Some researchers think it’s a great way to take the pulse of consumer sentiment. And it might be the best way to get a good Christmas deal if you can’t stand leafing through the Sunday paper. What’s a Sunday paper?
Speaking of shopping, I’ll bet historians will look back on the bad economy as one of the key drivers of social media behavior in the 2010’s. As advertisers desperately seeks customers, and as consumers desperately try to stretch limited budgets, online networks would seem to be the simple answer. What’s harder to predict is which of types of behaviors will stick when the economy (finally) recovers. Although you have to wonder… if companies like Amazon end up killing the shopping mall, will we ever see a return of the good old days?
If you’re like most people, no matter how many people you’ve connected to on Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and elsewhere online, you spend the most time keeping up with people you already know. Aside from old high school sweethearts and Aunt Tillie from back home, most people are primarily interested in using social media as a practical way to keep up with what matters most to them. And according to new research, what seems to matter most is a person’s geographical proximity. That’s right, apparently even in the 21st century, it’s all about location, location, location.
Back in the dot com era I made a living studying the shift from spoken-word telecommunications to the explosion of the internet. One promising finding was that in countries like Brazil, Mexico and India where “the phone company” had left consumers woefully underserved, new technologies were leapfrogging wireline telecom. It’s therefore logical that a similar leapfrogging is taking place in developed countries like the U.S. Whereas computers and internet connections were once the province of primarily wealthier middle class households, now it seems that all segments of society are eager to gain access to the web. This means ditching “old school” devices for the latest and greatest.