Smartphones, laptops, IPods, IPads, GPS…they are not just gadgets, they’re already part of our lives.
Technology is everywhere; it has changed every aspect of our lives, the way we buy our books, listen to our favourite music, book our holidays, even the way we stay in touch with family and friends; it rules everything and most importantly how and why we communicate. Technology has revolutionised our daily routines but if there is one thing that has really evolved beyond recognition that would be the way we work. We cannot function without computers and thanks to our smartphones we are ‘open for business’ 24/7. Is this an ideal situation? Maybe not, maybe we have become more stressed, more dependant on our devices in order to perform our roles in the business environment… but technology is there for us and we have to embrace it and make the most of it.
But if there is one aspect I would like to highlight about technology that would be the way it has helped people to stay in touch with each other, suddenly people can hold multiple conversations at the same time and basically anybody in an organization can communicate with the external world. Is this a good thing for the business environment? I believe it makes communication more dynamic but also more unpredictable. It has also stressed the importance of monitoring what´s been said about our company and who is talking about our company. This new set of ‘influencers’ can modify the way the world perceives our company, so a new task within communications departments becomes crucial: managing all these interactions and be able to react to them, once again, in no time.
All in all, technology has always been and continues to be the greatest change agent of our civilization. Everyday there is something new and we could simply say that we live in technological times…so what will the future bring? Well, it seems “ Social” is the way forward and it´s leading the most important revolution in communications. Social media is changing at a fast pace and it´s creating new trends in the marketplace. Let´s for instance think about Facebook, this is not a page to chat and share anymore, it has become a proper communications model, one that has 1 billion active users monthly as of October 2012, 81% of these users are outside the US and Canada. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest after China; more than 300m photos are uploaded every day and more than 488m users access Facebook using mobile devices.
These facts confirm how overwhelmingly important social media has become not only for us but also for businesses. Should organizations ignore what´s happening out there and continue “ business as usual”? I think this would be a terrible mistake; organizations have to create a new type of structure, one that is social and spreads across all functions. Only if we, as organizations, embrace the social media revolution, will we be able to grow and move forward. We have to be social!