Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to the future and beyond!

 Social Media 30 Day Experiment Week #3
The year 2010 and even scarier than could be imagined?
Advances have been made since 1985, and we are now all connected in 2010.
Mitch Joel makes reference to 'Back to the Future', in his book - Six Pixels of Separation.  He references to 15 years ago, how different online was, with modems and dialup speeds and the WWW just beginning - and if we could ' go back to the future', knowing what we know now about Google, and fact that "you would have focused a lot more of your time and energy on the online space if you had known then what you know now."

This statement struck me, since I have been involved with the internet for at least 16 years. I also provided Tech Support for a local Internet Service Provider, evolving from the Bulletin Boards and providing Internet Access to the masses. It was exciting and new. In beginning there was only text. The day that images were parsed in our browsers was cause for shouting. It did take about 15 minutes to fully paint in some of these images - but it was worth it!!  Did we ever think it would develop or get as big as it has? Yes. But ..

I expected everyone to be connected. And did expect it to grow with faster and easier ways to connect, and more information to be available at our finger tips. The wireless world yes - But.. I could not have imagined the impact of wireless and mobile.

I was, and still am 'always online' and focused to the online world - but spent most of my time promoting getting connected. Back to the Future, I definitely would use to my advantage and invent Google or at least would have bought those RIM shares in 1996.

I promoted and encouraged businesses to 'get on the internet', by registering a domain name and creating a website. Getting noticed by the search engines, and market your business with your attached. People could then search for your website, bookmark the website, and voila you would be ahead of others.

Social Media? Yes we had that - email, chat programs - Pow Wow was one I used first, newsgroups, forums, mailing lists and Internet Relay Chats - IRC.

IRC - a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing

IRC is still used and has a web interface as well as text based separate application:
mibbit  - and is rather interesting, as has Twitter Tab  as well as IRC channels Tabs.

However, the top IRC client from 1995, is still being updated and in use. mIRC
Latest News
- mIRC 7.1 has been released! (July 30th 2010)

There was a reason that not everyone did get connected or if they did, only did email - back then. Slow computers, slow modems and bandwidth issues. Also applications were not exactly easy for the non-programmer, non-developer, non-geek.

There were no advertisements. I recall when MSN Messenger began with ads, and thought the end of a wonderful era was over.

In the beginning - my beginning on the internet, it was about obtaining information and connecting to others. I recall being thrilled to be able to connect with people in Africa and Australia, that I would never have connected with, if it were not for the internet.

Has it changed? Yes and No.

The way we are using the internet is changing,  due to fact that we now have connected almost everyone. Applications have changed, and technology advances allow high speed and reliable connections. The fact that anyone can easily create a Blog, without learning HTML or CSS etc, has involved millions of more people to have their voice heard on the internet. Wireless and Mobile advances are making us 'always connected'. We can no longer function without the internet - or we are cutoff from society. It is our primary method of communication and connecting.

Biggest chance to myself - there are a whole lot more people! I cannot keep up, and have been informed that we are not expected to read all. New tools to learn.

Average Use
The 'average Joe' is using email, Facebook, watches You Tube videos, Skypes friends and relatives across the globe, Twitters, books dinner online, sends text messages, uploads photos from cell phone, downloads music and books directly to devices, and promotes self through LinkedIN. And that is before breakfast!!

If businesses want our business, they must be online, and connected through all the many different avenues and applications - and get our attention. There is more to all this, as people do not want to be blasted with advertising - but receive useful information, and have the ability to connect when desired to the company. Instant connection and feedback is now possible and expected.

Marketing formats preferred by the customer?
As I read reading Six Pixels of Separation, and wade through the many other books regarding Social Media, I am still sorting it all out. Are viral videos the way to make sales? Do people really pay any attention to Facebook Fan Pages? Who and Why are people using Twitter? What information does the 'regular person' want from businesses? Does the customer want to be in control of information/ marketing feeds?
What is the choice of communication - email, Facebook, Twitter - other?

My mother, who is 76 this month - says put everything on Facebook. I myself, am not so sure about that - and will delve more into usability going forward.

But, before we get to that -  I was just twittered and need to go grab my Groupon Coupon!!
- I don't what it is either. I will let you know.


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