An article caught my eye yesterday. Funny thing is, I can’t remember if it was on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. I don’t remember a picture, so I know it wasn’t on Pinterest. And there wasn’t a technology geek involved, so it wasn’t Google+. Seems to be the way it goes these days as information comes at us through center pivots (a volume that’s worthy of multiple fire hoses, for my non-farm readers). We don’t always remember where information came from or who sent it – only that we have it and should do something with it.
“Why social media is dead” is the headline that caught my attention, which pointed to this article on social business. In reviewing the transition from the early days digital to our social world, the author manages to capture the future. And I believe he’s dead on (pun intended).
Just in case you’re distracted by a tweet or decide to pin this and forget to click on the link, I’ll paraphrase. “Social media networks now drive much of the Web’s traffic as billions of people share links and opinions about the world around them. As a result of all of this activity—huge amounts of data or “social data” is currently flooding the current global digital ecosystem.”
Do you feel flooded? I know I do. I talk to people everyday who are swimming in information with no life vest in sight. It’s no wonder why when you look at what happens each day on the internet:
- 294 billion emails are sent
- Enough information is consumed to fill 168 million DVDs
- 2 million blog posts are written (enough posts to fill TIME magazine for 770 million years)
- 864,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube
- More than 35 million apps are downloaded
Who can keep up? All of this comes from The Social Skinny, which distracted me from my intended work for hours yesterday. Why? Contemplating the the state of social – and what it means for conversations around food and farming.
- 66% of online adults are connected to one or more social media platform.
- There are more Facebook users than cars (800 million vs 750 million) – and it’s the most visited website.
- Twitter accounts for approx 3.61% of referral traffic and is adding about one million new accounts daily.
- Pinterest is retaining and engaging users2-3x better than Twitter was at a similar time in Twitter company history. There’s about 10.5 million people with virtual bulletin boards, 20% of which are men (yes, I’ll be writing about agvocacy on Pinterest soon).
- Social commerce sales are expected to reach $30 billion in five years.
- 57% of people talk to people more online than they do in real life.
As the “social media is dead” post points out – this sets the stage for an era that’s already begun, but is still in it’s infancy. Most ag organizations are still trying to figure out social media, the realities of communications turned upside down and how to talk with their customers in social media (ironically, the same as you do in real life or on the phone). Case in point: 70% of businesses ignore complaints on Twitter, yet 630 million people are expected to have smartphones in 2012 where they can instantaneously provide feedback when they’re thrilled or unhappy. That spells a disconnect to me.
Whether you’re ready or not, social business has been birthed. Those organizations – including all of us in agriculture, food, nutrition, farming and ranching – who can form connections to the benefit of our stakeholders – will be the ones shaping this new era. Social businesses will have the ability to interpret and act upon the information for their communities. In other words, they’ll be strategically laying pipe, using the latest technology to manage the center pivot and directing information exactly where it’s needed for the community to grow. Sounds like a fun challenge, don’t you think?