One of the futurists I was following tweeted something that spurred me to write this little bitty, so bare with me. There is much confusion about Social Media / Networks, and saying that the future of business is Social Networks only adds to that confusion. For some unknown reason, there are far too many who seem to think that Social Media is the answer, the messiah, the silver bullet to all their business problems. STOP IT! This is far from the truth, and is sheer stupidity on the part of those who say it is.
I’ve talked about the next generation a few times now, GEN C, they are the under 20 somethings and they are starting to figure out what they want, and it’s not what business owners want. In fact, the generation that comes behind them will never know what a Tower or laptop is or was. imagine a generation that only knows wireless handheld devices, may never know what a Newspaper was, let alone a fax machine. They will all be things placed in a Smithsonian in some major cities if they can afford to have the show in town.
If you are paying attention to these social networks, and those who have built them, they are shifting and flowing, not because they work well, but because the people in those environments are looking for something. The future of business will be dependant on a couple of things, social networks are one of the tools to obtain those things, but not the end all. Being tagged will be paramount to being found in the future, your brand / product or service will live and die by being found. That being found will need to be everywhere, not just in social networks!
To found on the Internet will be one of the many challenges to deal with in the next 2 – 3 years. As with everything, the cream will rise to the top, the have’s over the have nots will continue as it does in the bricks & mortar business world. The big difference will be the tools or mediums you use, and how you use them that will matter, and should be well thought out. In the bricks & mortar we just yelled, and the loudest business got the attention, not so in the future, and social networks will play a minor role. Attention is the new currency, data is the new oil, and the combination of those two will present a whole new way of doing business in the near future. The problem is, the data is not fully understood, the technology we need is still not ready, it’s not ready because we don’t know what problem needs solving yet. Much of what we are relying on in social networks, hasn’t happened yet.
The future of business will be social, and it will most definitely be mobile, but it won’t be social networks that are the future. The real future of business is because we are connected, on the move, regrouping on the fly, unable to be controlled by anything or anyone, including social networks. A connected world cannot be controlled, it might be seduced, but only temporarily, and that is what big business and corporations are afraid of, they can’t control you & I.
Consider this, there will be another 3 Billion users of the Internet in the next 2 – 3 year, 5 at the most, are you in a position to get they’re attention online? Do you have a strategy or a plan to capture .01 % of that potential revenue? I can’t wait to see what new ways of increasing the new currency of attention, I’m ready, I’m more than ready, I’m down right excited. But if you’re still trying to figure out how to use social media networks, how to use a blog or a website, you better hire someone tomorrow to help you see whats coming. They can at least help you see the tidal wave and show you how to ride that wave rather than get wiped out by it.
That’s what we do here, we show you the future, and then help you create ideas to adopt what we show you. We are in the beginning of an upsetting industrial shift, a paradigm shift, and it’s very painful for some. Also keep in mind, much of what I am talking about is not about skill set, it’s more about how you think, to look at the world of business as it really is or will be.
Since the birth of the Internet many have been trying to figure out just what it is, how big it is, I mean how big is it in terms of mankind. What is the role the Internet plays in terms of the world, maybe the universe as we know it. The question of what the Internet will look like in 50, 100 years from now looms large and is still is unanswered. The future is much easier to predict over the next 30- 50 years but 100 is a stretch, most likely we have no idea what technology will be like if we even get to live that long. With that in mind, what will Social Networks primary function be in the next 50 years?
Today we are producing content at a rapid pace, and using Social Networks to distribute it, hoping to get attention, and hoping to be recognized for providing good value. Most are trying figure out how to make a living here without the reputation of being unethical, wanting to be an honest business person and still generate income. In Social Networks it appears everyone is helping each other, building one another up, and encouraging each other to keep moving forward and to never give up. In some way these social networks behave like a church, maybe even better than, taking care of each other and speaking positive about all we come in contact with, as if we’ve known each other for years. It’s actually one of things I like about social network environments, it’s humane, it’s not about the system, it’s about people.
Almost everyone is willing to come and be together on Social Networks, see old friends, and meet new ones. It all sounds so wonderful doesn’t it? There is a dark side and we have yet to figure out what exactly it look likes and how to keep in check. I only mention it because we must keep our wits about us while chatting here faceless.
The church of the future will be more online than off, and many of the old guard will fight it, just like the music industry, they’ll fight back and try to keep control. In fact, today a new copyright law was introduced to prevent you, all of us from downloading music. I expect the copyright law will fail just as the previous document. Many question come when the idea of doing church online, sharing the gospel in a digital way. What about denomination, what happens to membership? The concept of broadcasting, streaming church services live online will become common place in the future even with the resistance of today.
The reality is, the church our Mother’s & Father’s attended, that model of church, is no longer working and a new model needs to be introduced. The new model means opening the doors up to the soon to be 5 Billion people that will take up residence here online. It won’t be enough to just stream services, but virtual churches will literally need to transform traditional church so it works online. Then the questions of, would people attend, would virtual churches survive financially? I belive they will, and they will most likely increase giving because they have opened the church doors and seeing that they to have become even more human.
Some say the Internet is evil, it’s the same statement as saying people with guns kill people, the truth is, guns kill people. The motive and heart of the people determine whether that happens or not, but that’s another story.
The Internet is changing our world(s), in such a way many are having a very difficult time trying to understand just what is happening and what it all means in the big picture. I can only say, this change is going to happen and we have to learn how to adopt. The details have yet to be worked out, but the picture is clear, the church will come here whether those today like it or not. The same applies to business owners resisting the reality that the Internet, that their business must be web-centric rather than not.
Will social networks be the new church, will they be accepted, or will they be viewed as outsiders as they are today? I like to think we are all people, we all have the same desires and frankly the same needs. If that is true, then social networks we know today will remain behaving the same way with very little change. That remains to be seen, but I can say without an hesitation, the church will be here doing the good work that they do, and I say AMEN!