Here’s a good buzzword to add to your 2011 vocab: MyCasting. Professional trendcaster and futurist Marian Salzman uses the phrase to refer to an individual utilizing social media and the vast reach of the Internet to publish and promote his or her thoughts to the world, unsolicited. That’s any media posted online by non-professionals–any statement, anecdote or opinion posted via text or video on a message board, blog post, Facebook fan page or YouTube channel. Clearly, it’s an epidemic. And Salzman frequently states with great earnest that it’s only expected to become more prevalent in upcoming years—in ways we haven’t even imagined yet.
What does that mean for marketing?
Well it means that the roar of individual, novice, self-published voices will be thundering just as loudly as any specialist’s, politician’s or—yes, any marketer’s. Whatever comes fastest or is presented in the most dramatic way often takes precedence over the messages being put into the world with insight or purpose. Because the greatest equalizer, for better or worse, is the World Wide Web.
Although a professional organization or news outlet may be given more trust and credibility than an amateur’s website, the combined din of the masses often overshadows the more focused–and often, less timely–broadcasts from more reputable resources. In fact, it’s not always about choice, it’s about availability. For the most part, people rarely seek out information on the Web–increasingly, it comes to them. People spot info on content aggregates, such as Google Reader. Because these are often the medium by which we interact with our content, it means that a teenager’s tweets about Twilight are weighed equally in your feed with a pundit’s posts about public policy. Or, to compare apples to apples, it means you might hear about the latest earthquake from your aunt’s e-blast before Weather.com gets around to posting an official natural disaster report.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Even Marian Salzman can’t see far enough into the future to figure that one out. Ostensibly, how we use and view social media is turning on its head–and those who choose to look ahead will be best positioned to excel. What can you do to utilize this growing sphere of influence? Check back next week to find out.