The Social Media Revolution Isn’t Coming – It’s Already Here

You are being watched and you will be found

You can run, you can hide, but no matter where you go – the social media revolution will find you. Social media is changing the way we do business, the way we communicate and share ideas, and even the way we think and carry out our everyday lives. Where did you get your news from this morning? TV or your Google Reader? How did you find your job? A classified ad in the newspaper or a job posting on LinkedIn?

Many of you might have run across this video in the past few weeks – but in case you haven’t, take four minutes out of your day and give it a watch – some of the information might surprise you. More discussion after the jump.

A couple takeaways from the video:

By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers – 96% of them have joined a social network

First of all – this number is staggering. It means that virtually every single one of us have rocked out on Myspace, stalked our exes on Facebook, and dabbled in a tweet or two. So often we hear that ‘we are the future’ – Well, that future is right here, right now. We’re it. This is the future our parents always told us about. We represent the movers and shakers of the world, the innovators and thought leaders  – a rapidly evolving swarm of tech-savvy tweet-rather-than-text-rather-than-talk individuals. If a business is wondering how to connect and communicate with our demographic, look no further than the social web. We’re out there, and we’re listening.

80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices. People update anywhere, anytime. Imagine what that means for bad customer experiences.

Let’s remain optimistic:  Imagine what it can mean for positive word of mouth. If you’re a small business who is just starting out and wondering how you’ll ever compete with the corporate big-wigs, turn to social media. It’s inexpensive and allows for a direction connection to your consumers.

If you leave a great impression with a client or customer, they have new and innovative communication tools at their disposal to get your name out there. Imagine perfecting a cup of coffee for someone who has 30,000 Twitter followers – who in turn tweets about how amazing your little-known shop is and how everyone should check it out. Talk about awesome PR – a positive review from a ‘trusted source’ to a huge audience and it cost you nothing!

That’s the power of social media that so many companies out there are striving to harness and use to drive their business. Mr. Qualman shares an interesting statistic: 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations – Only 14% trust advertisements. I think we can all agree that genuine feedback from a trusted source is much more influential that a random ad. Companies are taking notice, shifting the bill from traditional mediums to social media platforms and letting their audience of consumers do the selling for them.

Ultimately how do these stats make me feel? Old (and wise)

I can remember the days before Myspace and Facebook, a time when Youtube ever existed, where Napster was huge and Itunes was dissed because it wasn’t free. The funny thing? None of this was that long ago – a matter of a few years – and look at how our society has changed. Technology is the first huge shift in culture that people our age can claim ownership of. The fact that we have lived and breathed this stuff since the beginning is what allows you and me to be considered ‘experts’. Social media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.

Our privacy is out the window – Erik makes a point on his blog that we should “live our online lives like mom is watching – because she probably is”. Everyone from Dunkin Donuts to the Doubletree Hotel is out there watching, listening, and observing – waiting for the right time to stage and effective approach and initiate a conversation.

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The Social Media Revolution isn’t coming – it’s already here. It’s time to stop asking “how did we get here?” and start thinking about where we’re going next.


41 Responses
  • Kyle Hansen Reply

    Not only have things changed, but they have changed and opened up so fast it’s crazy. I think consumers are almost expectig transparency these days.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Kyle – I agree that there is an ‘expectation’ of transparency. People want to get to KNOW the people they are buying from. I took a look at your business – very interesting stuff Kyle. You have a very open level of transparency – videos – blogs – social media. How does all of this add to your bottom line? I think your case is interesting because it’s a business (dog stuff) that is very ‘traditional’ in most regards. I would be very interested to hear what the ROI has been for your social-media endeavors.

      P.S. My dog would rip the squeaker squirrels to shreds :)

  • Kyle Hansen Reply

    Not only have things changed, but they have changed and opened up so fast it’s crazy. I think consumers are almost expectig transparency these days.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Kyle – I agree that there is an ‘expectation’ of transparency. People want to get to KNOW the people they are buying from. I took a look at your business – very interesting stuff Kyle. You have a very open level of transparency – videos – blogs – social media. How does all of this add to your bottom line? I think your case is interesting because it’s a business (dog stuff) that is very ‘traditional’ in most regards. I would be very interested to hear what the ROI has been for your social-media endeavors.

      P.S. My dog would rip the squeaker squirrels to shreds :)

  • Tim Jahn Reply

    Interesting thoughts Matt. There’s this amazing video on YouTube (that I’ve been searching for the past 10 minutes and cannot seem to find!) made by a college class within the past year and a half that shows the difference in their writing and reading. They explain how they read and write more emails and Facebook wall posts than anything else, among other things.

    The question I pose is how does this affect our culture? How does our increasingly short attention span affect our impact on history, our impact on humanity? If most of use end up using mobile devices (and therefore most likely shortened message formats), how does that affect human communication 30 years from now?

    I suppose I should just go write a post on this… ;) Thanks for getting my brain going this morning Matt!

    • Sam Davidson Reply

      Tim: you looking for this?

      This is a great channel to subscribe to. Wesch is the man when it comes to this kind of data.

      • Matt Cheuvront Reply

        Tim – loved your ‘follow up’ post asking “what is social media” – and you’re right, it’s us – it’s you and me, it’s word of mouth advertising and PR – and it’s INSTANTANEOUS.

        And you ask an extremely interesting (and important question) in regards to the video you mention (and that Sam has shared with us here) – where will our communication be in 30 years, 10 years, even 5 years? Will we eventually never speak to each other face to face? Will we even be able to carry a conversation that doesn’t limit us to a certain number of characters – or will we see a “Communication Revolution” where social media dies and we get ‘back to basics’?

        None of us can answer that – but it’s an interesting (and somewhat scary) thought to consider. What do you guys think?

  • Tim Jahn Reply

    Interesting thoughts Matt. There’s this amazing video on YouTube (that I’ve been searching for the past 10 minutes and cannot seem to find!) made by a college class within the past year and a half that shows the difference in their writing and reading. They explain how they read and write more emails and Facebook wall posts than anything else, among other things.

    The question I pose is how does this affect our culture? How does our increasingly short attention span affect our impact on history, our impact on humanity? If most of use end up using mobile devices (and therefore most likely shortened message formats), how does that affect human communication 30 years from now?

    I suppose I should just go write a post on this… ;) Thanks for getting my brain going this morning Matt!

    • Sam Davidson Reply

      Tim: you looking for this?

      This is a great channel to subscribe to. Wesch is the man when it comes to this kind of data.

      • Matt Cheuvront Reply

        Tim – loved your ‘follow up’ post asking “what is social media” – and you’re right, it’s us – it’s you and me, it’s word of mouth advertising and PR – and it’s INSTANTANEOUS.

        And you ask an extremely interesting (and important question) in regards to the video you mention (and that Sam has shared with us here) – where will our communication be in 30 years, 10 years, even 5 years? Will we eventually never speak to each other face to face? Will we even be able to carry a conversation that doesn’t limit us to a certain number of characters – or will we see a “Communication Revolution” where social media dies and we get ‘back to basics’?

        None of us can answer that – but it’s an interesting (and somewhat scary) thought to consider. What do you guys think?

  • Sasha H. Muradali Reply

    You’ll get no disagreement from me — I’m totally with you on that.

    I wrote about it too! lol –> Gen-Y & the Social Media Revolution http://bit.ly/NODrp

    My thing is — I think those that are not “in the loop” need to get over themselves. It sounds harsh, but its the truth. That’s the root of the issue. Ignorance and people who refuse to learn/accept/grow.

    It’s pretty sad, but it’s true.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Taken from your post:

      “Just remember for as “self-indulgent,” “coddled” and “demanding” a Gen-Y is thought to be, we’re the ones who will outnumber the rest of you very soon and we’re the ones whose shoulders it falls upon to take the world out of the recession that we didn’t make. We weren’t old enough.”

      Enough said – and I agree that those who refuse to accept the changes social media and the web are bringing need to wake up and smell the coffee. The Internet is real – it is here to stay – and it is forcing all of the ‘old school mediums’ to evolve and transform. There will always be a reluctance to accept new things – change is never easy no matter how you look at it. But as ‘inconvenient’ as it may be to shift your thinking, it’s inevitable.

      Great post over on your blog Sasha.

  • Sasha H. Muradali Reply

    You’ll get no disagreement from me — I’m totally with you on that.

    I wrote about it too! lol –> Gen-Y & the Social Media Revolution http://bit.ly/NODrp

    My thing is — I think those that are not “in the loop” need to get over themselves. It sounds harsh, but its the truth. That’s the root of the issue. Ignorance and people who refuse to learn/accept/grow.

    It’s pretty sad, but it’s true.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Taken from your post:

      “Just remember for as “self-indulgent,” “coddled” and “demanding” a Gen-Y is thought to be, we’re the ones who will outnumber the rest of you very soon and we’re the ones whose shoulders it falls upon to take the world out of the recession that we didn’t make. We weren’t old enough.”

      Enough said – and I agree that those who refuse to accept the changes social media and the web are bringing need to wake up and smell the coffee. The Internet is real – it is here to stay – and it is forcing all of the ‘old school mediums’ to evolve and transform. There will always be a reluctance to accept new things – change is never easy no matter how you look at it. But as ‘inconvenient’ as it may be to shift your thinking, it’s inevitable.

      Great post over on your blog Sasha.

  • Grace Boyle Reply

    “We no longer search for the news, the news finds us.” Amongst all the staggering and amazing facts included in this video I think this one has revolutionized a big piece of how we find/get our information.

    The part about all this that I walk away from is that change doesn’t have to happen over time. It happens in a year. In six months. In a week. Technology moves fast and really, Generation Y does too. I’ve seen this video before, but each time I re-watch it I’m amazed and impressed.

    Pretty powerful thoughts, Matt.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Well said Grace – we think of change as being a gradual step-by-step process – but technology, online and social media is revolutionizing and shattering that ‘baby steps’ mindset. Things are RAPIDLY changing – for you and me to be able to sit here and think about a time before the internet when we are 23-24 years old says it all. We’re still very young, and to have witnessed this evolution already makes me wonder where the heck we’ll be in another 23-24 years. One thing that’s certain – the web is here to stay – it will only continue to become a more and more integral part of our personal and professional lives.

  • Grace Boyle Reply

    “We no longer search for the news, the news finds us.” Amongst all the staggering and amazing facts included in this video I think this one has revolutionized a big piece of how we find/get our information.

    The part about all this that I walk away from is that change doesn’t have to happen over time. It happens in a year. In six months. In a week. Technology moves fast and really, Generation Y does too. I’ve seen this video before, but each time I re-watch it I’m amazed and impressed.

    Pretty powerful thoughts, Matt.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Well said Grace – we think of change as being a gradual step-by-step process – but technology, online and social media is revolutionizing and shattering that ‘baby steps’ mindset. Things are RAPIDLY changing – for you and me to be able to sit here and think about a time before the internet when we are 23-24 years old says it all. We’re still very young, and to have witnessed this evolution already makes me wonder where the heck we’ll be in another 23-24 years. One thing that’s certain – the web is here to stay – it will only continue to become a more and more integral part of our personal and professional lives.

  • Hanna Balla Reply

    You’ve got some great thoughts here. It’s coming to a time where those who aren’t taking hold of the reigns and getting involved in social media are the ones who are falling behind. Online communities have become a source for reliable information, especially considering that (as you pointed out), a large percentage of consumers trust peer recommendations, and understandably so. Through my experience, chances are if you try to search for small businesses online, one of the first things that pop up is a review, especially for products and services. So regardless of whether or not they’re involved in the social media scene, people are already talking. So why not take part in that and use it as an opportunity to enhance communication efforts with your audiences?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great point Hanna – one of the primary takeaways for me was that ‘peer recommendation’ piece. And it’s true – if you tell me I should go buy a certain brand of shoes or try a new coffee shop in my town – I am much more likely to actually believe it than if the company is ‘selling’ it to me. Businesses have to realize and tap into the potential that each of us brings as ‘brand evangelists’ – if you give me customer service and leave a lasting impression – I’ll gladly sing your praises. The opposite can be said for a bad experience. This has always been true through the test of time, but with social networking – it allows me to share this information much faster, much easier, and to a wider audience.

      Do you think there will come a day where advertising ceases to exist? Where companies focus solely on the experience and let us do the talking? It might sound crazy – but I don’t think it’s that far off.

  • Hanna Balla Reply

    You’ve got some great thoughts here. It’s coming to a time where those who aren’t taking hold of the reigns and getting involved in social media are the ones who are falling behind. Online communities have become a source for reliable information, especially considering that (as you pointed out), a large percentage of consumers trust peer recommendations, and understandably so. Through my experience, chances are if you try to search for small businesses online, one of the first things that pop up is a review, especially for products and services. So regardless of whether or not they’re involved in the social media scene, people are already talking. So why not take part in that and use it as an opportunity to enhance communication efforts with your audiences?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great point Hanna – one of the primary takeaways for me was that ‘peer recommendation’ piece. And it’s true – if you tell me I should go buy a certain brand of shoes or try a new coffee shop in my town – I am much more likely to actually believe it than if the company is ‘selling’ it to me. Businesses have to realize and tap into the potential that each of us brings as ‘brand evangelists’ – if you give me customer service and leave a lasting impression – I’ll gladly sing your praises. The opposite can be said for a bad experience. This has always been true through the test of time, but with social networking – it allows me to share this information much faster, much easier, and to a wider audience.

      Do you think there will come a day where advertising ceases to exist? Where companies focus solely on the experience and let us do the talking? It might sound crazy – but I don’t think it’s that far off.

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    This video is good…I remember the first iterations of it (search for “Shift Happens” on YouTube) a few years back. It’s amazing the updates needed in a just a few short years, as Matt points out.

    My concern is that if companies aren’t strategic, they’ll be left with a bunch of unfruitful efforts. When you’re personally doing stuff online, who cares if you have a strategy? But, if you’re trying to effect the bottom line, then you’ve got to be smart if you want it all to work.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Agreed Sam – and the challenge is (and what I’m facing now in my new career as we discussed) is developing an effective strategy that will PROVE ROI. Social media is tricky in that there really is no immediate ROI no matter how you slice it. It would be nice to say, “If I spend 10 hours on Twitter a week I will bring in 10 new clients a month” but that’s just not realistic. It has to evolve – it has to be measured in impressions – and a lot of it, as much as businesses hate the word, is intangible.

      You do a lot of consulting – and you use social media for your own business (Cool People Care) – how do you ‘sell it’? How do you present a valid ROI? Can it be measured?

      • Sam Davidson Reply

        While a social media ROI may seem beneficial, I’d also encourage people to see how it fits with existing ROI. So, can it help increase an existing goal? Can it fit into an already working structure? Social media should be a part of every puzzle piece, not a new puzzle in itself.

        Maybe. :)

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    This video is good…I remember the first iterations of it (search for “Shift Happens” on YouTube) a few years back. It’s amazing the updates needed in a just a few short years, as Matt points out.

    My concern is that if companies aren’t strategic, they’ll be left with a bunch of unfruitful efforts. When you’re personally doing stuff online, who cares if you have a strategy? But, if you’re trying to effect the bottom line, then you’ve got to be smart if you want it all to work.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Agreed Sam – and the challenge is (and what I’m facing now in my new career as we discussed) is developing an effective strategy that will PROVE ROI. Social media is tricky in that there really is no immediate ROI no matter how you slice it. It would be nice to say, “If I spend 10 hours on Twitter a week I will bring in 10 new clients a month” but that’s just not realistic. It has to evolve – it has to be measured in impressions – and a lot of it, as much as businesses hate the word, is intangible.

      You do a lot of consulting – and you use social media for your own business (Cool People Care) – how do you ‘sell it’? How do you present a valid ROI? Can it be measured?

      • Sam Davidson Reply

        While a social media ROI may seem beneficial, I’d also encourage people to see how it fits with existing ROI. So, can it help increase an existing goal? Can it fit into an already working structure? Social media should be a part of every puzzle piece, not a new puzzle in itself.

        Maybe. :)

  • Tony Ruiz Reply

    Amazing how the internet is making these dramatic shifts. I remember when MySpace was the big thing and still is for certain people.

    “By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers – 96% of them have joined a social network” That is huge, its almost like somebody has pressed the reset button. Gen Y is coming and the gen-yers that already discovered how to use the web for business, networking, PR, etc are in the lead. Mom was right, we are the future ;)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Love the analogy Tony – it’s like your playing Nintendo – the game freezes so you take out the cartridge, blow in it, put it back in, and then – magically it works (tell me you don’t remember those days). It’s a ‘fresh start’ for sure – a new generation in a new world. We are the future and that future is right now!

  • Tony Ruiz Reply

    Amazing how the internet is making these dramatic shifts. I remember when MySpace was the big thing and still is for certain people.

    “By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers – 96% of them have joined a social network” That is huge, its almost like somebody has pressed the reset button. Gen Y is coming and the gen-yers that already discovered how to use the web for business, networking, PR, etc are in the lead. Mom was right, we are the future ;)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Love the analogy Tony – it’s like your playing Nintendo – the game freezes so you take out the cartridge, blow in it, put it back in, and then – magically it works (tell me you don’t remember those days). It’s a ‘fresh start’ for sure – a new generation in a new world. We are the future and that future is right now!

  • Sam Reply

    Wow, this is amazing! Thanks for sharing. I think sometimes we forget just how quickly things have progressed. It makes me wonder what will be next, and just how fast it will grow.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      It makes me wonder – but it always is a little scary. I don’t know whether to be impressed or terrified of what our lives will be like in 10 years – what will our kids be doing when we’re in our 40′s and 50′s – I mean think about it, can you even imagine at all what role technology will play in the year 2050? If the past is any indication, it will look NOTHING like it does today.

  • Sam Reply

    Wow, this is amazing! Thanks for sharing. I think sometimes we forget just how quickly things have progressed. It makes me wonder what will be next, and just how fast it will grow.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      It makes me wonder – but it always is a little scary. I don’t know whether to be impressed or terrified of what our lives will be like in 10 years – what will our kids be doing when we’re in our 40′s and 50′s – I mean think about it, can you even imagine at all what role technology will play in the year 2050? If the past is any indication, it will look NOTHING like it does today.

  • Trace Cohen Reply

    I can’t remember how many times I have seen this video either from friends or family or even in my classes and you still get the same response **drool**

    Time to be cliche: A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. We’re currently experiencing a paradigm shift that most people aren’t aware of. Everyone talks about this coming revolution but doesn’t realize that they’re apart of it whether they like it or not. You can’t fight it, it is just something that we evolve into as technology advances so rapidly.

    My only problem is that the word revolution has a negative connotation to it, usually pertaining to war. As much as I would love to stick it to the man, there is no physical war at hand, just a psychological one. This is why you need to be a thought leader of your time and make a stand.

  • Trace Cohen Reply

    I can’t remember how many times I have seen this video either from friends or family or even in my classes and you still get the same response **drool**

    Time to be cliche: A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. We’re currently experiencing a paradigm shift that most people aren’t aware of. Everyone talks about this coming revolution but doesn’t realize that they’re apart of it whether they like it or not. You can’t fight it, it is just something that we evolve into as technology advances so rapidly.

    My only problem is that the word revolution has a negative connotation to it, usually pertaining to war. As much as I would love to stick it to the man, there is no physical war at hand, just a psychological one. This is why you need to be a thought leader of your time and make a stand.

  • Shane Reply

    Great find!
    I really enjoyed this. Makes me feel a bit old, too.

  • Shane Reply

    Great find!
    I really enjoyed this. Makes me feel a bit old, too.

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