Future communication to evolve through social media

| March 12, 2010 | 0 Comments

Rob McIlvaine
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Public Affairs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Less than 15 years ago, the commercial Internet didn’t exist. The Internet now serves 1.5 billion people, with adults making up 70 percent of the users.

But this new form of communicating with customers has its pitfalls, so “think before you tweet.”

“The Internet is wherever you are, whenever you want it,” said Bryan O’Rourke, the chief strategic officer of Fitmarc, a company that trains fitness and wellness professionals and organizations like Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

“We are in a rapid technology change that isn’t going to stop,” said O’Rourke. “Companies and institutions, such as the U.S. Army, must engage in social platforms.”

According to O’Rourke, the Internet, social media and merging biomedical technology are converging to create a powerful platform to support exciting new opportunities to impact larger and broader populations.

Technology is accelerating the use of this new media with mobile devices — now owned by 56 percent of adults — getting faster, smaller and more powerful. Voice recognition could eventually make knowing how to type obsolete.

“Social media requires new thinking on how to communicate your mission,” O’Rourke said, citing the research of Jeremiah Owyang and his breakdown of the future of the social Web into five eras.

In the beginning of social media, social relationships gave people the opportunity to connect with others and share.

Two years ago, the era of social functionality allowed people to work together without being together.

Currently, we are entering the era of social colonization where every experience can become social, such as what friends think about a movie or a restaurant.

In the future, we’ll be able to choose to share personal information to be instantly recognized by institutions, such as educational or social opportunities like a new sushi restaurant opening nearby.

Finally, we’ll enter the era of social commerce. This will become a time when communities can define future products and services, such as working together to bring down prices.

“But there are challenges,” O’Rourke said. “Technology is not about building fences, it’s about vision and leadership and understanding how social collaboration can benefit.”

David Pogue, a New York Times’ blogger, helps make sense of the explosively expanding realm of Web 2.0 and the kinds of ‘casting or texting, available for communication.

“What do YouTube, MySpace, eBay and Craigslist have in common?” Pogue asked. “They’re all part of Web 2.0, in which a Web site’s material is supplied by its visitors. They are all new ways for individuals and corporations to express themselves online.”

Within Twitter, where only 140 characters can be displayed, a creative user can tap into the minds of those who follow him and get back loads of information.

Pogue encouraged everyone to consider ways the U.S. Army and Soldiers could harness the power of social media.

“I’ve heard lots of reasons, such as ‘don’t know how,’ ‘fear of the rabble,’ ‘too expensive,’ ‘don’t have the manpower,’ and ‘security issues,’” said Pogue. “These are all legitimate concerns, but Web 2.0 tools will open up amazing opportunities for institutions.”

Category: Community

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