What are companies doing with Online Communities today? – A changing generation

large__4540607699Everywhere, anytime, right now, as you read this, people are engaged in conversations with countless others. Through blogs, message boards or sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Tumblr, people share photos, videos, ideas and opinions. The so-called Web 2.0 revolution has allowed Internet users to collaborate, share and contribute to the process of website development.

This ease of access to web content has altered the way people interact with the world. There are billions of web sites currently in existence, and this number is growing at an accelerating rate. The Internet has become an important “tool that facilitates the most basic of human needs: a tool for conversation” (Smack 6). These people, especially the young generation, is “marked by an instant awareness of what is new, what is hot, what is desirable – and what is not” (Brown 30). Pollster John Zogby has extensively studied this changing young generation and wrote his finding in the book ‘The Way We’ll Be’’, in which he explains that the expectations of products and services of this generation will be extremely different from that before. This will force organizations to “redefine their offerings and change the way they reach this generation. The new youth “cyber culture” will continue to find ways to adapt technology and Internet to their needs and desires” (23).

For these young people, relationships made and maintained through the Internet can be just as meaningful and powerful as those formed in real life. They “now have networks of friends they have never physically met and a network that surpass international boundaries” (Smack 7). More and more young people are using technology and Internet to find others with whom they share “important affinities, ranging from experiences to interests to beliefs to lifestyle choices” (Brown 35). Social critic Christine Rosen observed this digital form of tribalism (having a strong feeling of identity loyalty to a tribe/group) as an unexpectedly strong trend. Information (such as product and service information), experiences, and opinions spread with an enormous speed and power.  She states: “Effectively getting a positive message on a tribal network could well be tomorrow’s best marketing strategy” (Brown 36). In his book “Tribes”, Seth Godin states the following: “Tribes matter. They always have. Now though, they matter even more. This is a primal human need but the Internet has joined together previously fragmented groups. We need to start embracing this phenomenon and start deciding whether it’s worth the effort. I think it is” (14).

How are marketers dealing with this changing generation and emerging trends? Read my next post to find out!

Until next time,

Anne-Sophie Gaspersz

Photo credit: Scott & Elaine van der Chijs via photopin cc

Photography: Scott & Elaine van der Chijs

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