If someone says Disneyworld, what song comes to mind? How about ‘It’s a Small World’? Quite fitting in today’s day and age, where we’ve turned into more of a global village, than separate continents and countries. Most all of them have a McDonald’s, Pepsi, or kids running around in Superman T-shirts chomping on a Snickers bar. You’d have to be an alien not to have heard of these brands, and that’s thanks to the rapid sending, sharing and receiving of information – all over the world – made possible by advances that have come all the way from the first telegraph to anything you want to do on your very own smartphone.
What was the main aim for the song behind one of the most famous rides in the history of Disney? Well, it was too loud and noisy to have all of the different country’s anthems playing at once so they needed a simple song that could be easily translated into different languages. Sounds a little bit like social media; Twitter and Facebook combine a unified platform that can be used in many different languages. That way people all over the world can use these social channels without having to re-create one of their very own. This is great since now we can reach people all over the globe – from China to Brazil, using one single stage.
There has most definitely been a shift in media emphasis and this draws upon my last point. As social media has made it easier to reach the masses, print media is becoming obsolete. Why? It’s just that much easier to read about your favourite celebrity online or to follow them on Twitter. That’s not a bad thing. Now you’re favourite song can be one of the top 10 songs in China or you can be on time with the latest American shows (because if local TV channels don’t give us that, we’ll turn off the tube and head to YouTube). It allows us to be current and forces traditional channels to work harder to make it available.
What has this smaller world meant for how we do business? A new captain of the ship has arrived. Where traditional media is how we got the news and where we found out about what others were doing wrong or right, social media has emerged as a key player, forming the structure, stirring trends and determining how we broadcast information.
While experts say that the younger generation solely relies on new technology and has ditched the ways of their ancestors, the truth is people are still influenced by advertisements they see in magazines and on billboards to decide what their favourite perfume will be or what shoes to buy. It’s still an ongoing competition, because people have so many options to follow. People still enjoy picking up their local newspaper and, while some say the death of the paperback is ever so near, I still prefer to pick up a good book every now and again over reading on a machine.
Dramatic advances in mass communication have truly created a global village, regardless of age, gender, location or education, but we must be careful before we lump all of our audiences as one. People are different, their interests vary and what they respond to differs. Like we preach, over and over again, be careful not to fall into the ‘hype’ trap and ignore that while we are a global village, it’s still made up of so many different homes.
If it really is a small world after all, how do you make a big difference?