I'm just back from Bogota, Colombia where I was one of the keynotes at a remarkable CRM conference with an amazing crowd that I'm going to run down to you in my next blog entry. But before I do that, I want to throw something atcha.
Here's the deal. I got to wondering the other day: Has anyone done a study or even written on what made the social psychological conditions change so that consumers want to generate content, want to blog, want to participate in social networks and work on wikis with their fellow human. In other words, we all know that these new content distribution and communication channels are being embraced by the consumers out there but why? Why now? What's changed?
As I often do when I ponder the big pitcher (I KNOW its big picture. I'm kidding), I turn to my friend and a fellow CustomerThink guru and blogger, Graham Hill, who, as I've said before, is the only person I know who can show the coherent relationship between CRM and neurobiology without there being some academic punchline at the end of a joke. Here's Grahams answer, and, if you like what you read, he has a blog over at CustomerThink you should be a devotee of. Just click on this sentence to go there.
Tough question. A quick look at Pew Internet, Social Technograpics, social networking blogs and other information sources shows that the number of people engaged in Web2.0 activities is large and growing, particularly in younger age groups. Most of the research into why this is so identifies any number of reasons, e.g. the following paper - http://www.ics.uci.edu/~jpd/classes/ics234cw04/nardi.pdf- on why people blog. As Social Media2.0 are used more and more, Social Media1.0 are used less and less. Witness the fall of in TV watching, radio listening and newspaper reading. My own belief is that as humans are both self-actualising (we like to achieve difficult things) and social animals (we like to do it together), Web2.0 applications allow those of us with enough resources to do this more easily and more publicly. Obviously it doesn't apply to people living on 1 US$ a day, or trying to survive in war-torn Iraq, or even those who aren't Internet savvy, but it does to the rest of us. Indeed, looking at the number of communities typical young MySpacers belong to (), it may even be multipliying the behaviour. I don't think that our basic hierarchy of needs has changed (why would it in such a short period of time when human evolution takes generations), just that they can be more easily fulfilled through Web2.0. Why settle for talking with your friends about Arsenal football club down at the pub when you can talk to millions about it on the Internet too. And sitting in your undies in your bedroom at home too. As the famous New Yorker cartoon says, "On the Internet, no-one knows you're a dog!". The interesting effects will come when Web2.0 social applications are really available on mobile telephones. The most personal of personal devices. This will free social media from the tyranny of the fixed-location computer. Mobile telecoms penetration in W. Europe is expected to reach 100% this year (vs. US 65% this year). 70% is considered full penetration of the addressable market. Italy's penetration is 140%, i.e. everyone in the market for a mobile phone has one SIM card, 50% have two and 20% have three! Our family of four has six SIM cards!. And who knows what will happen when Web3.0 applications become available to mine web data and provide answers to natural language, context-senstitive questions and to manage the flow of transactions enabled by the semantic web but on the customer's own terms. I can just see intelligent bots scouring the web to put together that family holiday you always wanted but couldn't find easily in Web2.0. Or the same bots resident on mobile phones managing the flow of offers (information) the customer has enabled marketing companies to send them based upon their real-time location. The implications of the Semantic Web on Customer Business is something I am already starting to think about. It is somewhat mind-stretching to put it mildly. It won't be the web we know today that's for sure.