In 2006 Time magazine proclaimed on its cover that the Person of the Year was ‘you’. Referring to the dawn of the Information Age controlled by each and every person who uses the internet, their heralding has today rang true.
With the volume of internet users having exploded in the last decade, internet communities now wield an extraordinary amount of influence, according to Alfonso Herrero, director, external affairs, at IBM. Ranked the number two company behind Coca- Cola, IBM is one of the most recognised and relevant brands in the world.
Mass collaboration and community on a scale never seen before is now shaking up business.
“It shows the importance that every one of us has today in terms of influence and the power we have on corporations. Corporations now need to pay attention to each individual person as by aggregation we will have an influence that we didn’t have before.”
Pointing to the sheer power of blogs nowadays, Herrero draws on a survey which shows that 25 million Europeans have admitted to changing their mind after reading a blog. “How many people have changed their bookings for a location after reading comments on Trip Adviser or some other social media. Or reading comments on a blog? They are very influential and they can change the behaviour of people. We need to pay attention to social media and blogs,” he warns.
“We’re talking about communities – this is no longer one to one conversation or one company publishing information and another one reading it. It is about indexing – people who read something about our company will recommend it to other people. It is about collaboration. Basically it’s about the exchange of information between all of us. This is new the environment of communications that is very different to what we had before. It is not easy to survive in it.”
“In this new network you cannot pretend to have control of the processes and communications that take place. You can influence them but you cannot take control.”
Alfonso Herrero, director, external affairs, IBM, was a speaker at the marcus evans PR and Media Effectiveness Conference held in Barcelona on 7 and 8 October.
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