As a member of the first generation of kids who really grew up with a computer in the home to my present-day work as a marketing professional, I have seen and experienced the changes of the online experience first hand.
From the lonely, late night and early morning hours on my CoCo 3, prowling local and regional BBS boards (trying like a madman to download Duke Nukem), to watching Darkplace and presidential debates on YouTube and CNN this year, what it means to be online or “on the web” continues to evolve… and quickly.
To say that the web has been reborn sounds a bit stale. I know that. The truth of the matter is – being online (whether via the pre-Internet days or not) has always been a social experience some way or another. And since the web has grown so much over the years, its rebirth or evolution has been a constant.
However, I believe one of the differences between then and now is the level with which we can interact and engage one another is greater than anytime in history. The last couple of years have seen the growth of social networks, advancements in digital and mobile technology, greater personalized content, rapid adoption of RSS, and the explosion of Twitter and similar communications solutions. Spurring all of these things along has been the growth of broadband and wireless technology, which has enabled more and more people high-speed access and grown the web substantially.
Of course, not only is the technology available and accessible, but people are using it and using it for many purposes. People are watching video online, listening to the radio online, getting their news online, meeting people and cultivating relationships online, more than at any time in history. We can bridge the gap of distance and communicate through Skype, follow the latest developments at a trade show (for example, see the NAB Twitter feed by clicking here), or join social and political causes all instantly and for free. And if we want, we can beam video of ourselves all over the world, purchase food and clothing, and, of course, complain.
What this brings me to – in a loose and rather unscientific blog posting – is that the web has emerged to become everyone’s social portal (well, almost everyone). If you want to reach people – you need to reach them online.
This holds especially true for marketing. In fact, I think we as marketing professionals have the most difficult job in the crazy life-cycle of business. Our job is to keep track of all of these portals, networks and communities, and devise ways to use everything the web is creating as a means to get our message to our target audience. The rebirth of the web as a social portal has come to mean that successful marketing is social marketing, and social marketing is only a success when you establish a relationship – preferably a positive one.
The purpose of this website and Hack Blog is to address the unique dynamics of social marketing, and to offer insight into how social marketing can and should be used. Another component of this site to connect you, the reader, with the skilled and talented people I work with on a daily basis at BIA Financial Network, intelligent PR professionals like Geoff Livingston, and others who can help you and your company or organization make the right marketing decisions.