Socialnomics: The Social Media Revolution

I recently read portions of a book called Socialnomics by Erik Qualman. In this book, Qualman discusses how social media has revolutionized how people interact with each other and how individuals receive and come across information in today’s world. He says that social media has become the most popular internet activity over the last three years because it helps people to avoid what he calls “information indigestion”. This is the idea that people can avoid coming across and reading useless information and stories that they do not care about on the internet.

At first, I was really confused by this idea because social media websites like Facebook are full of status updates, photo albums, videos, and links that I don’t really want to read or look at. A lot of this information seems pointless to me and I find myself wasting time by looking at some of these things. However, Qualman argues that observing these things on social media websites is not a waste of time.

He says, “Why do I care that my friend is having the most amazing peanut-butter-and-jelly or sandwich? Or that someone is at her kid’s dance recital? These types of questions are posed by someone who doesn’t understand social media rather than by someone who hasn’t embraced social media; there is a difference.” Qualman believes that the typical social media user does not care about all of the little things that others are doing in their day to day lives. Instead, he says people use these websites to stay generally informed on what their friends are doing so that individuals can stay in contact through casual observation. Qualman writes that people do this because they want to feel accepted into a larger social group.

This is just one aspect of social media to Qualman. He also writes extensively on how social media websites have created a massive socioeconomic shift. Where as some older marketing and advertising strategies still apply in today’s society, websites such as Facebook have revolutionized how companies are trying to get their products into the public’s eye. “Million-dollar television advertisements are no longer the king influencer of purchase intent. People referring products and services via social media tools are the new king.” These websites have the ability to cut out inefficient marketers and middleman and can push products directly to consumers in fast and timely ways. Instead of sifting through newspapers or watching commercial after commercial on television, people can see what products their friends recommend and enjoy. This type of marketing is much more efficient for companies because consumers trust the opinions of their friends and will only endorse quality goods and services themselves. In this way, Qualman says that people in society are the beneficiaries. He uses the example of a father looking for a model baby seat: “If a new father sees via social media that 14 of his closest friends have purchased the same brand and model baby seat and they all express glowing reviews, he will not waste hours on research, as it has already been done by the people he trusts. This recaptures billions of hours that can be redistributed toward the betterment of society.” Using social media websites allows people to find products more easily and makes it cheaper for companies to sell these goods because these firms do not have to spend as much money on advertising.

I definitely agree with this aspect of Qualman’s argument. Personally, I would be much more inclined to buy something if I saw that my friends had recommended it on Facebook and I know that I wouldn’t spend much time researching other items if I had already found something that I had liked. I also have noticed how companies have shifted marketing strategies towards Facebook. Many corporations have created fan pages on the site that allow users to discuss what they like and dislike about products. Not only does this create buzz marketing, it also gives businesses the opportunity to get direct feedback on products that will allow the firms to be more successful in selling these goods. Although this is a relatively new development, I can see how huge of an impact social media has had on how businesses are trying to interact with consumers.


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  1. […] Socialnomics: The Social Media Revolution ( […]

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