At first glance, after two decades, the utopian dream of the World Wide Web and social media maybe seems to be over. Big Brother returns to haunt our memories, and threaten our digital identity. Information overload and the maelstrom of new technologies confront us with a form of ¨Content Shock¨ and ¨Digital Darwinism,¨ where everything is moving too fast for us.
However, looking as the other side of the coin, the new digital ecosystem is perhaps not so bad he looks. Beyond this ¨Orwellian Dystopia¨, new technologies and social media provide us with the means to better fulfill us and make us better as individuals and consumers. Today, thanks to new technologies, we can exercise together and individually, an undeniable power over brands and organizations. Tremendous power of influence, we could not even suspect there is still a few years, and now extends to many aspects of our existence. This is the great power of influence of ¨prosumers¨; connected consumers of what we call now the new Generation C, baby boomers generation Z. (read also : Is Generation C the Key to Understanding the Social Media Influence?)
The Power of Social Media Influence
Of course, not every generation reacts the same way when interacting with brands and organizations. However, the act of consumption online seems to occur among individuals of all ages. Each generation, from seniors and baby boomers to Gen Yers, benefits in his own way, according to their needs and interests, as connected and informed consumers (or “Gen C”). This is where all generations meet, and become ¨prosumers.¨
These are the nine spheres of influence of Generation C in social networks.
1 – Generation C includes all generations of consumers connected. Contrary to popular belief, Generation C is not limited to new generations (Y and Z), but encompasses all generations of connected consumers. This notion was introduced more than 10 years by the international magazine Trendwatching who conducted a study on the behavior of new consumers connected to the Internet and social media; from baby boomers to generation Z. Today, it is no longer a question of age, but connections.
2 – Generation C changes the economic rules and changing the world of business. Both at the individual level (ex: Dave Carroll of ¨United Breaks Guitar¨) and the community level, consumer reviews can greatly influence the online reputation of a brand or organization. Consumers now reject many forms of intrusive advertising, which forces companies to adopt new ways of sharing information. The sharing economy, mobile payments, and virtual currency earn followers, while local marketing and outreach extends into local businesses as well.
3 – Generation C requires adapting to new paradigms of work. Both in terms of technological innovation as well as productivity in the workplace, companies and organizations must now meet the new expectations of the new generations. Organizations are forced to adopt BYOD and teleworking, and HR must adopt its role and recruitment methods. Ambassadors in business arise, and customers now become of much higher priority.
4 – Generation C influences policy and requires more social governance. Since the popular Occupy Wall Street movement, the Arab Spring strikes and student movements, social and political crises happen around the world and force governments and organizations to adopt new forms of governance that is more social, fair and transparent. Worldwide, corruption and dictatorship are exposed and come to light more vividly than ever before.
5 – Generation C adopts new lifestyles geared towards cooperation and environmental sustainability. With access to better information through social media, consumers are able to carry out concrete actions for a healthier and more sustainable environment. The ¨prosumer¨ is contributing more and more towards a sharing economy, and raises awareness about the problems of the planet and humanity. Electric cars are gaining popularity, and the pharmaceutical and food industries have been shaken by recent revelations.
6 – Generation C brings new ways to learn and process information. With the use of virtual encyclopedias and search engines, there are new ways to process information and learn. In recent years, the world of education has major transformed with smart boards and MOOC. Education and vocational training have undergone a profound change, and recruiting organizations are greatly influenced by this, too. There is a new science in the digital age, and it deserves to be taught in the early years of education, as well as mathematics, biology and languages.
7 – Generation C encourages innovation and the development of science. The wide dissemination and exchange of scientific information via the Internet and social media encourage brands to develop new more advanced technologies serving consumers. Things like mobile technologies, 3D printing and augmented reality offer new opportunities for companies and organizations to meet the expectations of connected consumers.
8 – Generation C changes the relational frameworks to ¨gamify¨ its existence. The use of the Internet and social media by new consumers profoundly modifies personal relationships, love and even family. At the same time, it promotes the emergence of new forms of leisure and entertainment. The market for games and online entertainment is proving to be one of the most lucrative, and the average user spends several more hours per week on these activities. Gamification also is present in business and often replaces tutorials in vocational training.
9 – Generation C consumes culture in digital ways. Cultural industries have also undergone a major revolution where the connected consumer adopts the culture through the Internet and social media. From music to movies, to books and visual arts, all industries must adapt to this new form of consumer culture and the arts. Several musical groups such as Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire took advantage of the new opportunities to launch their careers primarily though social media. Several other artists in all sectors (as film and visual arts) also show a lot of creativity and innovate turning to co-creation and public funding.
According to you, in this list, which pillar influence of Generation C has the most impact on our lives? Do you think there are other major changes that Generation C conducts through social networks?