Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's good to be back after surviving the roller-coaster year that was 2008 and unplugging for the better part of six weeks, but alas a New Year has begun, so time to get this party started with a few thoughts.

First, just to clarify, I write this blog for me, and me only. Not for the purpose of flexing my social media IQ, but as a platform to express and share ideas and thoughts that are of interest to me, no matter the topic.

I've happened upon this day to start writing again not by design, but because I actually have thoughts that I want to share and express, and this has become my personal soapbox.

Digital Communications/Social Media/CRM
Will this be the year that PR evolves to finally take its rightful place at the grown-ups table? I say yes, with the caveat that PR pros and the industry as a whole embraces the inevitable change that has been happening for the last 5 years - a change from a one way "traditional" monologue with consumers to a two-way dialogue vis-a-vis social media. Those who get it will prosper; those who don't - won't. Social Media and all its touch points will allow Digital/Social Media Communications pros who command the strategic skills and adhere to the unwritten rules of consumer engagement to finally say "show me the money!"

Sighhhh. Back in 2007 during the SxSW conference, Twitter was tapped as "the next BIG thing" in social media. Well, strap-on your seat belts kids, 'cause barring any financial calamities (can they get a decent business model together that allows the platform to actually make money?), Twitter is about to get a whole lot bigger. You thought Twitter jumped the shark in 2008 once Rick Sanchez and the crew at CNN started using it with reckless abandon? The Twitter community has increasingly flexed its new found muscles for love of Mad Men, in disdain against Motrin, and more importantly as the most efficient platform to disseminate up-to-the-second eyewitness reports that have consistently scooped traditional media outlets in breaking news (Mumbai attacks, Miracle on the Hudson plane landing). You can be sure to expect more of the same in '09. With the increased number of new Twitter applications that continue to launch on a daily basis, it's inevitable. The one caveat is that Twitter will need to figure out a way to monetize and generate ad revenue.

Has not only jumped the shark, but will continue to dominate mindshare and marketshare in the world of social networking, and in the US will continue to be the most active social networking platform used by consumers (currently boasting 150 million active users), while maintaining steady growth.

Yes, the Inauguration of President-elect Obama is but a mere two weeks away, and the fact that the inauguration of an African-American as the 44th president of the United States comes on the heels of celebrating the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is a feeling too powerful and overwhelming to describe. It's "one of those defining" moments, and the crush of people attending, the massive media coverage from even the likes of Nickelodeon, BET and QVC, and the various online tools, platforms and applications available to share the experience, the inauguration promises to make this the most watched, consumer engaged, and covered event of the year. The Super Bowl, Oscars, heck, even the Olympics will pale in comparison.

All-in-all, this year will be a challenging one, and time will tell just how bad it actually ends up being. Be that as it may, though he's no savior, at least we can take solice in the fact that we have sensible, strong, intelligent leadership at the helm of this country to help us navigate through these rough waters.