Every new generation has a built in skepticism about “the old way”. This sometime leads to a rather arrogant attitude towards the older generation’s way of doing things. This is visible in many discussion groups and blogs when someone questions the value of Social Media.
So to make it clear; I do not criticize Social Media in general, what I am questioning is the level of revolution when it comes to content.
The revolution lays more in the speed and distribution, than in the content.
When looking at the Twitter trend for 2009 and 2010 people still tweet about Entertainment, sports and holidays. Not to different from what people was talking about 15-20 years ago. Even though the technology changes fast, peoples attitude do not.
What does a person or an organization try to achieve by using social media today? If you do a search for that you get: “Engage in conversations (dialog)”,” showcase your skills, services and products”, “listen to your customers”, “share help and advice”, “learn more about your audience”, “listen to what’s being said about you and your competitors”.
More or less the same as it always been… except for the speed and distribution…
Some old examples: Napoleon Bonaparte had his own propaganda chief officer, Jacques-Louise David – a Painter who died in 1825. He used theatre plays to retell the history of Napoleons battles. The biggest is believed to be the attack on Italy where they used great fireworks and soldiers being lowered from a hot air balloon.
Just imagine what he could have achieved with a blog, YouTube and Twitter…
Another negative, but very effect full, example is the work of Paul Goebbels how was
Hitlers Reich Minister of Propaganda. He is famous for his media mixes to get the message out. The use of posters, paper ads, radios speeches, exhibitions, flyers (delivered from
planes behind enemy line) and his famous whisper campaigns where he got young Germans to betray the hiding places for Jews and sometime their own family if they criticized the Nazi regime is well documented. I don’t think anyone want to imagine what he could achieve with today’s communication tools.
Reading these examples many will argue that the main difference that Social media has brought us is the change from one way propaganda to dialogue. But it hasn’t. The desire for communication between people and between companies and customers has been there for a long time and the whisper campaigns was a true two-way communication channel.
The purpose of communication hasn’t changed, the methods have. And in this respect Social Media is another method, and we are a long way from a revolution in content.
Take the web… The first webpage’s (especially when looking at newspapers) was just a copy of analog content. And even when looking at the release of “The Daily”, it still hasn’t quite given us something new? Its still news… Beautifully delivered yes, but still you could read it all in a traditional newspaper.
So my young friends: The internet and Social Media is a technological revolution but not a content revolution. When you manage to revolutionize the content itself (not the way it is presented) you will get a real revolution…
And you don’t know if you did this until you understand what has been done before…