Monday, March 1, 2010

Social media: Democratizing power to the people.

Read in Wired this month:

Transformative change happens when industries democratise, when they're ripped from the sole domain of companies, governments and other institutions and handed over to regular people. The internet democratised publishing, broadcasting and communications, and the consequence was a massive increase in the range of both participation and participants in everything digital - the long tail of bits.

Now the same is happening to manufacturing - the long tail of things.


When democracy reaches the people, even ad agencies need to change. The old model of a pyramidal hierarchy doesn't work anymore. Old hands who do not believe in the power of the net and feel that 'change' is online but not in the real world. But as demonstrated above and featured in Wired, Local Motors is the first open-source car company to reach production. The model is based on crowdsourcing on an open platform from social media. Imagine! It's a freaking CAR MANUFACTURER. We're manufacturing cars based on the wisdom of thousands. Not just adding and editing text in Wikipedia. Do we need any blacker and whiter proof that the social change which stemmed from online media has reached the real world? How long more can we deny this change? How long more can they sit protectively on their self-made thrones, believing that social media can be stopped by just unplugging the IP address at work (or till after 6pm)?

Before, it was how we behave in the real world which affects how we connect and communicate with one another in the digital world. In a world of virtual reality, we hide behind our alter-ego and live out our fantasy. But then, things changed when Web 2.0 kicked in and netizens realised that there is more to gain by being honest and open about who they really are, what they feel and what they can really do. And suddenly, you have a lot more people becoming vocal because of their freedom to say anything and be anything online. And not minding their real identities being disclosed to the general public. You do know that you get a lot more followers if you had a real profile and photo on your Twitter right?

Agencies who function in the old social program will start to reform. Or should reform. How? By being experimental. By investing on experiments. By distilling some values and discard the rest which do not contribute to the increment in productivity, efficiency and motivation. It's a tough challenge because old school management used to 'strike the fear of god' into people. And you watch the small people scramble to production. But today, you have a team of young-minded people who can perform and excel beyond the brief simply because they can, are motivated and the best part is? They do it unconditionally. Because they too know what feeds their motivation and self-fulfilment. You just need to know what buttons to push.

I'm sorry to break the truth but virtual is now more real than reality. That's harsh, ain't it?

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