The Social Media Dinosaur

I was having a conversation with my two lovely teenage girls about social media the other day, and to their horror, they discovered I grew up without the internet!

"Well", I explained, "We actually had to go to places if we wanted to visit people. We had to use a telephone box..." (didn’t mention the joy of those cards for use in the phone box instead of coins, do you remember those!?) "And we had things like books and encyclopeadias to learn about the world and.....Google did not exist.  There, I've said it!"

They were horrified! I then went on about how in my day (nooooo! I never thought I would say this, am crying inside!) we didn’t even have a remote control. Being the youngest in the family, I was the remote control so I was ecstatic when the new black and white TV arrived with a remote that was attached to the TV to change the only 3 channels that existed!

It was so cool then.

“Oh mum, you poor you, you’re like....a dinosaur…..”

"Well, err, yes I guess so. I mean I don't really need your pity......but....I guess I'm feeling it talking to you two right now!"

I cannot stop thinking how different it is for children who have no notion of life without the internet and are learning how to swipe at birth!

There's no doubt about it - the internet and social media have completely changed the way we behave, the way we shop. Let me give you an example: we go shopping for a dress for my daughter in Westfield, so the choice of shops is endless. She decides to look at her Instagram account (phone eternally attached to her hands) and likes a dress that one of her friends is wearing (at this stage I am assuming it’s a friend she knows but not really sure with the thousand people she has on there).

She sends her a message (the correct language here is 'DM' her or 'snapchats' her or something like that) I pay little attention, or rather I pretend I understand the lingo but between you and me, no I don’t get it!

She asks her where she got the dress from, goes on the website, orders it and it’s being delivered the following day! How incredible and confusing this is! We are in Westfield!?

It made me think how can we as businesses keep up with and utilise the rapid force that is social media? 

Yes according to my daughters, I am a dinosaur, most of my working life we had no internet, no email campaign or Facebook followers to manage.

The whole digital media world started during a time when I was working for a corporate company.  I had little to worry about back then, we had a marketing team that did it all for us. I wasn’t even contributing to the content - it was all done. One less thing to do as far as I was concerned….What is this Facebook thing anyway?!

Facebook is only 12 years old, I have been in the industry over 25 years and my girls are 17 and 15.  What is scary is how quickly everything is moving and how reliant we have become.

I realised three years ago when I became a consultant that I needed to really push myself to achieve digital media domination. So I started with mastering LinkedIn, then Facebook and twitter. But I still didn't quite feel in control of it all. It was still a bit of a shot in the dark to be honest.

I mean, I only got to understand the power of the # recently. The way I was using it before was soooo wrong!

It was when I joined Treatwell that I learnt about the power of digital media and did all the necessary research. I was told to become the social media queen. Me? Yes me! The dinosaur is blasted right out of it’s comfort zone! 

I have been so operational throughout my career and even though I dabbled in the few platforms mentioned above, I was far from being a queen at this stage!

I felt I had joined another planet. These guys were on a different level altogether, talking another language - one I was forced to understand!

The pace of digital companies is so fast, they run at 100 miles an hour, making decisions instantly.

In the hair and beauty industry, I worked for companies where I had to make a business plan, one after another, for several months just to get to a computer screen!

In the digital world, everything is instant and powerful.

So I learned, listened to webinars, got myself following some digital blogs, read articles. I even completed a course on social media and one on digital marketing to really get a fully comprehensive understanding.  And I met influential people in the digital world. 

So the dinosaur isn’t so clueless after all.....until I speak with my girls again….

“So, the thing is - I don’t like snapchat anymore” one tells me “What? why??” “Because it’s all about Periscope right now”

The other one adds, “Yeah and I'm not on Facebook anymore”

“What? why?”

“Because it’s for old people.”

Oh dear!

Well, I have to admit, even my parents are on Facebook. So I guess a 15 year old doesn't want to be seen to be doing something her grandparents are doing!  So it's worth considering if you're a business that wants to target a younger crowd -  Facebook may not be the way forward.  Nevertheless Facebook remains a powerful platform and one that should not be underestimated.

But what is all this about periscope??? What on earth is that anyway?

“Well, Mum, its live.”

"Ok, so, what does that mean?"

“Well look, we can see people doing things live, look at these two guys buying chicken and having banter.”

Confused, I go on Wikipedia quickly - yes google has become mummy’s best friend and this is what I get:

'Periscope is a live video streaming app for iOS and Android developed by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein.Periscope was acquired January 2015 by Twitter before the product had been publicly launched. One investor source says the acquisition amount was "sizeable", above $50 million. Another says it fell between $75 and $100 million. A third says the deal was "smallish"'

Ok, so, it’s not that old, another money making platform with the sole intention of market domination. It seems to have only recently hit the UK… more research needed...

As I recall this conversation, I am aware this dinosaur has her work cut out. Social media evolves so rapidly. Just when you think you have understood it, something else comes along.  People are so easily bored - I mean who uses my space nowadays? (you don’t have to answer that)

We cannot predict what social media will be in 10 years time but there are reports that tell us the future is in holograms and virtual reality. 

I feel like I need to embrace this technology rather than fight it. It's second nature to my children - is very much a part of their world.  So it makes sense  if i know how it works so I can talk to them realistically about the danger of it all.  And, of course, I can use it to the benefit of my business. 

But right now, I bring them back to my world, "The dishes don’t wash themselves! How about you put that on periscope?!"

I rest my case. Life is a mixture of operational and digital.  And the future in our operational industry is knowing how to handle both in order to generate a brand that everyone wants to be part of. be continued


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co agency and Business Academy

Consulting agency and Business Academy specializing in the Hair and Beauty industry

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