Can Social Media Totally Kill the Marketing Industry?


There’s no question that the wave of the future, for any enterprise, is through the socio-techno divide. In March of this year, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience sold 980,000 copies in just the first week of sales alone. Much of it was done through commercials, television appearances, and select performances. However, much of it was also done through the social media realm, like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. You would see not just song links and performances. You would also get a peek at "exclusive" photos and candid shots of Timberlake recording this project.

Welcome to the world of marketing, 2013 style! Gone are the days of relying on only hot leads, foot traffic, and word-of-mouth through a human being. The same premise can be done with pushes of a button. Want people to know about a product? Send it through social media. Apple was the greatest at this form of advertising. Whenever the iPhone or iPad had its new generation ready to be unveiled, they relied on the technology realm in order to push the product along and give it the "word-of-mouth" push it needs to spread the word to customers.

In the world of the social techno divide, a person is either a digital native, immigrant, alien, poser or tourist.  s far as where I fit into the socio-techno divide? I would probably call myself a digital immigrant. I look at my niece, and nephew, (digital natives) operate through their Nintendo Wii, Xbox, iPads and iPhones with no difficulty, at all. Conversely, I look at my mother-in-law (a digital tourist) embrace the coming technology like a greasy fish. One of her famous sayings of when something has the better of her, and she wants to rid herself of the contraption is to "throw it in the fireplace." She purchased a hybrid SUV last year, but, in only six months’ time, she wanted her regular SUV back because, "it’s too complicated." Mind you: We’re talking about a Ph.D. in education. So it goes to show you how technology can get the better of anyone. I give her a lot of credit, though. At least she'll successfully attempt working a digital apparatus. My father, on the other hand ...

Being a digital immigrant has meant that I’ve walked the fine line between embracing technology and being at home with non-technological stuff. I wholeheartedly believe that the one characteristic which identifies me with being a digital immigrant the strongest is the fact that I’m open to ideas. I have to admit that, at first, I wasn’t that way. I was rather rooted in things I already knew. However, over the past few years, I’ve embraced that change. Come on! I’m taking an online college class. How is it not a sign that I’m embracing technology and am wide open to new ideas? I laugh at this because I believe the following describes me:

From a book called SocialCorp, it's argued that “(Digital Immigrants) were born before the existence of digital technology and adopted it to some extent later in their life.” They were brought up with a variety of computer technologies, used them in different contexts and have varied levels of experience with social media. By necessity they have accepted the realities of the digital revolution and are scurrying to understand their role and learn the basics.”

Truth be told, I have had no choice but to adapt to the changing technological landscape. Where I work, meetings can be conducted from one city to another via video conferencing. To schedule boardroom meetings, we don’t need to jot down what room, what day and what time. We can go into a database and book it, there. Does it throw you for a loop when you’ve had to do things "the old-fashioned way?" Yes, it can. However, what we all get taught, these days, is to survive, adapt, and advance. If you can’t get the hang of the new technology at your disposal, there is someone younger, faster, stronger, smarter and savvier to take your place.


As the author, Robert Postman of SocialCorp wrote, “What’s amazing is all of the things people have figured out they can do with Twitter. Whether intentionally or through divine intervention, Twitter got everything “right.” Some people use Twitter like a chat room. Others use it like a social network. … Images and formatting are not permitted, but links are, so Twitter can also be useful as a moderated news feed.”

In the socio-techno divide, it’s a truly dog-eat-dog world. Earlier in the spring, a Houston sports analyst got himself in trouble for saying one of his NFL New England Patriots' ex-teammate's wives was "the ugliest (looking) spouse" with whom he’s come in contact. In hours, word got to his ex-teammate and he angrily responded on Twitter. So news travels very fast, these days.

I have attended a university in a virtual college classroom, and I can honestly tell you that technology has changed the game in how we live our lives. I’ve sat in a traditional college lecture, and I can tell you: There’s a profound difference. Information is brought differently, now, than 20 years ago. Education has become more visual and technological than in the past — and it’s not because the times dictate it. It’s because the instructors see the need for a better learning tool. So if someone is a digital native, an immigrant, a tourist, an alien, or a poser, it's irrelevant. All that matters is how you reach the person. The methods may change, but the philosophy remains the same. The name of the game remains, “How can I feed people the necessary information to succeed in this world?”