Blink #3 Social Media is Omnipotent.

Social media dominates our relationships and dictates how we communicate with friends, family and brands.

“Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring,” writes Clay Shirky in his 2008 social networking tome, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. “It’s when a technology becomes normal, then ubiquitous, and finally so pervasive as to be invisible, that the really profound changes happen.”

For much of the world, social media outlets like Facebook – which recently topped 750 million global users – have quickly reached this level of pervasiveness, becoming an essential part of everyday life. Terms like “tweet,” “defriend” and “hashtag” have entered common vernacular, while others – “like,” “check in” and “tag” come to mind-have gained added meaning.

More than that, though, it’s transformed the way humans interact with each other. Relationships are no longer bound by geography or time zones, and ideas of privacy and intimacy have been completely redefined. We are all online and we want to tell the rest of the world.

Social media provides brands with a gateway to consumers. But what should they be doing?

Social media strays from its more traditional brethren like television or print in a way that radically changes a brand’s communications model. One-way messaging is no longer sufficient. Consumers now demand that brands both listen and respond: a true conversation.

Used correctly, social media can help brands cultivate fans, inspire loyalty, glean important marketing insights and drive sales. However, social media is also constantly evolving – think MySpace’s recent sale for $35 million, a far cry from the $580 million that News Corporation originally paid for the once-behemoth social networking hub. So what should brands be doing in the social space?

In this edition of BLINK, we consider the impact of social media around the globe and provide expert advice for marketers looking to connect with consumers online. We also take an in-depth look at the developing BRIC nations to see how advertisers are responding to these new opportunities – both online and offline.

I hope you enjoy this latest edition of BLINK.

Stephen Allan
MediaCom Worldwide Chairman and CEO

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