This is not one of my typical blog post, it is simply a reflection on video I watched just as I was about to turn off my computer and head home! I am a big fan of TED, and today I watched a video by Clay Shirky about “How social media can make history“. The video itself was very inspiring, but I hung onto Clay’s final words “the former audience are now increasingly full participants” … can you grasp the importance of this statement – allow me to express my awe … WOW!
Ok now let’s try to break this down by explaining what might seem as trivial English vocab but certainly revolutionary when it comes to defining the new marketing principle of today’s world.
The audience, as defined by thefreedictionary.com, are the spectators or listeners assembled at a performance. Whereas, the participants are those that participate, share, or takes part in something.
In other words, we have moved from a passive receiver to and active communicator – can you tell how revolutionary this simple concept it. Can you, as a marketer, understand how the ball game has changed?
As marketers, we have studied terms like addressable audience or target audience. That might have applied 20 years ago, but not today. We have to strikeout the word audience and replace it by the word participants. We’re not broadcasting a message anymore, we are engaging in a conversation instead.
The Internet, more specifically Social Media networking, has shifted the controls to hands of the participants. I can’t help but picture a scene out of the Greek mythology, whereby the mortals (previously known as the audience) revolt against the gods (also known as the professionals) – this would be the internal message broadcasted in Mount Olympus, “Uh Zeus … (cough) … we might have a problem … oh and by the way, I quit” – well that might have sounded funnier in my head, but I’m sure you catch my drift. We can longer play the roles of gods and just expect the mortals to obey; we actually have to listen to what they have to say now … bummer, now I have to learn how to think like a mortal!
Kidding aside, I hope you can see how important this change is to any business. We need to get off our big fancy chairs and get our hands dirty. Think About It!