I live on a tiny island. In Malta, social networks extend to neighbours and friends of friends and migrant communities in the four corners of the globe. And always, there has been a hunger for technology, learning and shiny electronic devices. So when social media hit the attention bandwidth, people scrambled to Facebook. Over 25% of the population now reportedly has an account.
And yet, mention social media in business circles and you’re likely to be met with shrugs and visible signs of suspicion and discomfort. It’s not entirely surprising. Like many countries, there are many vested interests in keeping the status quo intact when it comes to marketing budgets: many of these are still spent on mainstream newspaper print, TV and radio. PR agencies continue to play it safe and rely on ‘trusted’ networks and influencers and ‘sit on the fence’ until someone forces them to do things differently.
And yet: the new tribes of communicators, bloggers and trouble-makers are starting to quietly mobilise. Every day sees a new Facebook page, a blog and more fumbling with Twitter. I don’t know how long it will take – but in a micro, highly-competitive business environment, it is inevitable that decision-makers will wake up to the fact that their customers and prospects’ attention now lies elsewhere; and that they are going to need to engage with them in a totally different way using the ‘new’ tools.
This is the deck of slides I used earlier this week for a talk at Digital Arts Expo, Malta’s largest digital media event.