The Circle of Life
So we’ve come full circle, with technology finally starting to catch up to how we’ve interacted with each other since the dawn of time.
Marketing and sales have always been conversations. There is nothing new about that.
And listening to your customers has always been a good thing. There’s nothing new about that either.
But the one big change is how information can flow today vs. “way back then”.
For most of our recorded history, the flow of information was personal or local, and it was slow. 1000 years ago, for information to travel thousands of miles between nations or civilizations took years if not decades. There were some exceptions though.
During the height of the Islamic empire, 1000 years ago, information used to flow incredibly quickly (by then standards) from Western Africa to China. Every year, thousands, if not tens of thousands of Muslims would travel from their homes to Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
And of course, they traveled by land. Along the way from their homes to Mecca, they bought and sold good and exchanged information. Once in Mecca, they stayed for weeks, if not months interacting with people from all parts of the Muslim world. Muslims from the Ivory Coast could buy and sell goods with Afghans and Chinese pilgrims. They could learn from each other and exchange information.
Thus information would spread across the Muslim world, across thousands of miles every year. This was unheard of in Europe at the time and was a big factor in how knowledge and technology spread across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while Europe languished in the “Dark Ages”.
Today, in the physical world, we have conferences where people do basically the same thing: travel from various location to a common place and share information, stories, experiences, merchandise etc. There is nothing that can fully replace the value of a live, face-to fa-e conversation.
But, in the virtual world we have recreated that environment from 1000 years ago on the Web. Except now, the ability to find and transmit information is not measured in months or years, but in minutes and seconds. Assuming we use this new power of social media wisely, it will be very interesting what to see how much progress we can make in the next 10 years.
Next, some of the pitfalls of social media.