I teach a Social Media Marketing course at Stanford once or twice a year, and each time I review the changes in the industry and technololgy over the past period. This year was no different, and the changes took my breath away. The combined forces of two powerful trends, social networking and mobility (or mobile commerce) in the short span of a year promise to unleash an even more powerful force than either of the two alone. Together they provide the cability to deliver a truly personal connection to the Internet anytime, anywhere, whether it be sharing, shopping, learning or talking. And while both are still in their infancy they promise to create even greater opportunities than we have seen to date.
This year was a watershed in the sales of cell phone which for the first time exceeded those of of wired phones as it did the sales of PC's. Smart phones, hit some 26% or 115 million devices in worldwide sales of smartphone in 3Q11, according to research firm, Gartner Group. Gartner estimates that in the US which has the greatest number of smart phone usesrs, smartphones will become the highest selling consumer electronic device, growing from 67 million in 2010 to 95 million in 2011.
This is not just an expansion of digital capabilities is a real revolution in the space of a few short years, and where it will take us in not just more of the same, but somewhere totally different.
As Tucker Hood observed some time back in the Economist in an excellent article on the The Internet Untethered, "A less obvious but more useful analogy is with the switch from the electric telegraph to the telephone in the last quarter of the 19th century. The telegraph, like the Internet, was a revolutionary communications technology that transformed social and business practices, but it could be used only by skilled operators. Its benefits became available to the public at large only when the telegraph evolved into the telephone—initially known as the “speaking telegraph”. The Internet is still in a telegraphic stage of development, in the sense that the complexity and expense of PCs prevents many people from using it. The mobile phone thus promises to do for the Internet what the telephone did for the telegraph: to make it a truly mainstream technology."
Over the coming months, I will be taking a harder look at the impact of these two new trends and the myriad of technologies shaping the world of social media marketing.