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Anyone would say that we professionals of the digital world live in a bubble of optimism. I would like to contribute my own reasons as to justifying a certain idealism to this effect.
It is true that we are living in pseudo-apocalyptic times with all the earthquakes, political schisms, economic downturn, energy and climatic crisis. But perhaps the world situation is blurring a hopeful social phenomenon, an unusual opportunity that affects us all in one way or another. It refers to the power we now have to be able to change the course of history.
Up until 10 years ago, it was all about globalisation. To summarise, access to worldwide information. The common user was just a mere globalised spectator, basically a passive recipient of a lot of information.
But technology 2.0 arrived and the greatly simplistic collaborative platforms converted the recipient into a transmitter. Things got complicated. I would say more like things got interesting… Now we can position ourselves and act in accordance to the information we receive, play an active part in that communication and convert it into action. We could call this social mobilisation. 2.0 sector experts are already foreseeing that the consequences of 2.0 will be social to the extent of being philanthropic.
With projects such as the Actuable petition in sight, software open source for conflict visualisation and geolocalisation Ushaidi or the educational crowdsourcing portal that is revolutionizing the teaching of mathematics; Khan Academy, collaborative 2.0 technology (over and above social networks) is already successfully contributing to a world change.
Continuing with the idea of the optimism bubble, amidst the sheer economic crisis we see the investment in Social Media growing every day. Companies have become aware of the great opportunity to connect with the public by means of these platforms. But more or less creatively, as the message is not seemingly conveyed in a purely aesthetic and/or ludicrous manner.
Yes, without a doubt the experience makes the brand more memorable in the consumer’s mind. But an entertained client is not the same as a loyal client.
In an environment of relatively democratic information such as today’s, the brand has the same position of influence or even one inferior to the actual user. Everything seems to indicate exactly what somebody knowledgeable on the subject once said to me, that dogmas takeover the position of brands and slogans.
Egotistical and irresponsible brands and promises do not sell anymore.
Social Media, that almost omnipresent hiper-conscience has made us more demanding in every possible way. Also in terms of responsibility. The brand has no choice but to leave its castle and approach its public, step into their shoes, empathise with it, share its interests… But overall, its concerns. From a purely marketing perspective, this is how a cause gains importance. But there is much more than this… When I say cause, I do not only mean humanitarian help if not philanthropic in a wide sense of the meaning, humanism in general terms.
Let me explain… it is not about doing big things, of making a contribution to the wellbeing of developing countries nor boasting about it in order to connect with the public. In a company with a solid philosophy it may be enough to find a space in which employees, collaborators and friends can communicate and express the intangible aspect of the company, its essential values. ZyncroBlog is a good example of “digital humanism” focussing on connection with the user.
However, companies that wish to vote strongly in favour of this should have philanthropy (not just humanism) in their DNA as they are being presented with the opportunity to take advantage of investing in Social Media to multiply the social impact of their actions. It is clear that the benefits are twofold, involvement in the global change and engagement with the user.
After months of projecting it but only a few days of actually helping companies gain engagement online via humanism, it has become my dream as a consultant. So, I will take the opportunity of this post to say my farewells as Zyncro digital marketing manager and present myself as a ZyncroBlog collaborator.
What about you? Do you share this idealism?