Daddy, Mummy, When The World Changed, Where Were You?

The world has changed, and it continues to change fast. Anyone who aspires to be successful in almost any area of life will do well to embrace the social media world!

We have just started a brand new year 2012 and I’m sure many of you are busy planning what to do in the twelve months that make the year. As you do this, I advise that you take a serious look at this new phenomenon called social media.  This is where the world is right now, and I know the world will change further in this area in 2012.

In case you are yet to embrace the concept of social media, or you are a believer who lacks adequate information on what has been happening, I have some data here in this article to enlighten you, and I will be borrowing a lot of information from the PowerPoint presentation titled “Leveraging on Social Media for Marketing & Distribution” delivered by Chris Wei, Group CEO of Great Eastern Holdings Limited, at the 8th ASEAN Insurance Congress held in Singapore in November, 2011.

First, let’s have a common understanding of what social media is all about. Wikipedia says, “Social media includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue…Social media takes on many different forms including magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking.” You may click here for more background information on the subject.

If I can summarize everything into a single sentence; social media has changed the way people relate, and the entire world is now interconnected. Should anyone allow himself/herself to be left out? No. Anyone who does not sync into the new communication order will soon find himself or herself to be living in another world; more like someone living under the sea when every other person is on the surface of the earth.

Relationships Redefined

Consider the following amazing facts (many of which relate to the US) to confirm that you have no choice than to “belong:”

  • Social media is the No. 1 activity on the web;
  • 1 out of 8 couples who married in the US in 2010 met via social media;
  • The following media will take the number of years stated against them to reach 50 million users:
    • Radio – 38 years
    • Television – 13 years
    • Internet – 4 years
    • iPod – 3 years
    • Facebook – Less than a year (about a month);
  • 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students outperformed those receiving face-to-face instruction;
  • 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum;
  • 80% of companies are using Linkedin as a primary tool to find employees;
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females;
  • Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than the population of Ireland, Norway, or Panama;
  • 80% of Twitter usage is outside of Twitter;
  • The No. 2 search engine in the world is You Tube;
  • Wikipedia has over 13 million articles, 78% of which are non-English, and some studies show that the site is more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica;
  • There are more than 200 million blogs; 54% of bloggers post contents or tweet daily; and 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands;
  • 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content;
  • People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them;
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations;
  • Only 14% trust advertisements;
  • Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive Return On Investment (ROI);
  • 24 of the largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation because we no longer search for news, the news find us.

 The Face of Facebook

Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape with more than 500 million active users as of 2011, which is approximately 1 in every 13 people on earth; half of whom are logged in on any given day! Facebook is an amazing social networking platform where parents and their children are “friends;” a place where two strangers who are thousands of miles apart connect with each other; and a point where two enemies talk to each other as “friends.” It is an amazing world indeed.

Mashable.com has the following additional thought provoking insights into the world of Facebook:

  • 48% of 18 to 34 year olds check Facebook right when they wake up;
  • About 28% check their Facebook on their smart phones before getting out of bed;
  • The 35+ demographic now represents more than 30% of the entire userbase;
  • The 18-24 (college) demographic grew fastest at 74% in one year;
  • There are 206.2 million internet users in the US, which means 71.2% of the US web audience is on Facebook!
  • About 70% of the Facebook userbase resides outside the USA;
  • 48% of young Americans said they find out about news through Facebook;
  • A record breaking 750 million photos were uploaded to Facebook over 2011 new year’s weekend;
  • 20 minutes on Facebook produces the following results:
    • 1,000,000 links shared;
    • 1,484,000 event invites;
    • 1,972,000 friend requests accepted;
    • 2,716,000 photos shared;
    • 2,716,000 messages sent;
    • 1,323,000 tagged photos;
    • 1,851,000 status updates;
    • 1,587,000 wall posts
    • 10,208,000 comments made.

Women and Facebook

Still on Facebook, Mashable.com provides the following additional information on women:

  • 21% of women aged 18-34 check Facebook in the middle of the night
  • 63% use Facebook as a networking tool
  • 42% think it’s okay to post photos of themselves intoxicated
  • 79% are fine with kissing in photos
  • 58% use Facebook to keep tabs on “frenemies”
  • 50% are fine with being Facebook friends with complete strangers
  • 50% of women believe that it’s just fine to date people they’ve met on Facebook, compared to 65% of men. 6% of women use it to “hook up” (20% of men do the same);
  • 49% of women believe it’s fine to keep tabs on a boyfriend by having access to his accounts (42% of men think the same way);
  • 9% of women have broken up their relationships via Facebook, as compared to a full 24% of men.

A tweeting world

Year 2011 was indeed a remarkable year that had so many breaking news ranging from Osama Bin Ladin’s death to Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Egypt. Of course, Twitter played dominant roles in relaying the news to people.  When Steve Jobs died, Obama tweeted on it. When Muammar Gaddafi was captured in Lybia, tweets flowed on it. We should not also forget the riots of London, Wall Street occupation, Amy’s Winehouse’s death, Syria’s riots etc. Tweeter was a key tool used for communicating these and many other stories, not to mention the private tweets between friends, relatives, and company employees.

Some lessons from social media

In the course of his November 2011 presentation, Chris Wei drew the attention of his audience to the following five key lessons learnt from social media.

  1. Community – as humans, we love to connect and love to feel we belong;
  2. Transparency – the nature of the platform throws light on people’s authenticity and exposes those who think they can fake relationships;
  3. Engagement – social media is a conversation and a dialogue, not a billboard, flyer, or any propaganda tool. As social beings, we love to connect and share by communicating, engaging, and opening up dialogues with a lot of people.
  4. Borderless – barriers to connecting have now being removed forever. Not only do we now interact easily with friends next door, we are also connecting with complete strangers thousands of kilometers away, and our lives are being enriched in ways never imagined.
  5. Creativity – social media serves as a platform for innovation and it duly rewards creativity. It harnesses the power of sharing on a scale that is hard to believe, and this is very difficult to replicate in any other way. 

What says your scorecard? 

Having read this post up to this stage, its title should now become clearer to you despite the fact that it doesn’t bear any word making reference to social media. You should be asking yourself how you as a person, or the business you are engaged in, rank in the world of social media. I repeat: The world has changed and it will continue to change. Are you moving with the flow or you are gradually getting out of date and into “extinction?” Clearly, you don’t want to be left behind.

As we all know, children are very inquisitive in nature. In fact, the rate at which they understand and embrace modern technology is alarming! Of course, you know what they do with your phone everyday – that’s if they don’t have theirs already. But here is a key question they may pose to you later in future if you are not following the trend: “Daddy, Mummy, When The World Changed, Where Were You?” This article, I think, is a wake-up call.

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