Social Media and the Most Exciting Time in History

social-media There has no doubt been exciting and eventful times in history.  From Jesus walking the earth, to the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, Kings and Queens in Europe, the discovery of America and formation of the United States, the industrial revolution, world wars, and technological advances such as cars, planes, radio, television, internet among countless others.

So of all these game changing historical events, how can anyone claim that now is the most exciting time in history? The reason is because of the evolution of media, the possibility to share ideas and the ability to control what information we consume.  Never before has it been this easy for an individual or small company to be able to engage and communicate with people around the world.  Controlling the information we consume is also one of the largest benefits of living in the 21st century.  We take this for granted now but thanks to cable television, satellite radio, podcasts, blogs, RSS feeds and social networking sites we have so much choice over what we watch, read and listen to.  Information we care about is also delivered immediately as opposed to having to wait for the evening news.

It’s fascinating to see the developments in technology that have allowed people to communicate with the masses beginning all the way back from the printing press.  In the 1800’s only governments and newspaper organizations in the largest cities had access to the printing press and therefore controlled the spread of information.  In the 1900’s radio and television were the new ways to communicate, share ideas,  and entertain.  Only 10 years into the 21st century these mediums of communication are beginning to seem outdated since, newspaper, radio and TV only allows for one way communication.  Blogs, podcasts and social networks now allow for two way communication and interaction among a) the people that create the content b) the advertisers that financially support it and c) the people consuming the content. 

The reason it’s so exciting to be a part of the social media generation is that any individual or small company with an internet connection can now communicate, influence, share ideas and interact with people around the world.  Since barriers to reaching anyone around the world have been entirely removed and anyone can now publish content online we have so much more choice about what we read and watch.  Markets have become so segmented and people will only consume content that is relevant to them in every way.  So in order to be successful and build a loyal and engaging following the key is to target a very specific niche and be the absolute best source of information for that. 

Even cable television has so much choice targeting particular interests airing information all day everyday for people interested in home improvement, cooking, golf, celebrity news, reality TV, travel, animals and so much more.  The internet, niche social networking sites, blogs, forums and podcasts are segmenting the markets even more and giving anyone the opportunity to be the best source of information for a particular service or product. 

When societies and economies transition as we have from an industrial age to an information one, it can be a frustrating experience for some.  People will try to ignore the change but it always catches up and negative impacts even as drastic as losing jobs can occur.  With such drastic changes though there is lots of opportunity as well and those who come out on top are the people that learn and adapt the quickest to these changes.  The savviest people will use social media to give them an edge when looking for a job, establishing themselves as an authority in a particular industry, reaching more customers by creating engaging marketing campaigns and simply building their personal brands. 

Most still haven’t seen the real value social media presents and simply use social networking sites to chat with friends or play video games.  We need to realize other benefits social media can provide and if used creatively how it can help us achieve our goals.  Let me know in the comments below creative ways your using social media and what role you think it will play in the next 5, 10 and 20 years. 

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