co How Social Media Is Changing The Rules For Business |

A couple of years ago I’d have been offended if I’d been giving a speech and half my audience was looking down at their cell phones. I’d have thought I must not be engaging their attention enough. Now, I just say “Tweet the Meet!” In other words, feel free to use your cell phones throughout my presentation and let others know what you are learning. It’s a whole new world.

What’s changed?

Attitudes. And there’s really no other explanation. Our attitudes about a lot of things have changed as a result of new technology and social media. I love this quote from Bill Thompson, a BBC journalist:

Behaviours developed for the industrial age simply cannot cope with the new possibilities for information sharing.

When audience members discuss my meeting with them as the meeting is going on they are effectively extending my reach – and my audience. They are marketing for me. And that’s OK.

Of course, some people would say all this connectedness is really tearing us apart. It’s making us less human. Driving a wedge between us socially. But I don’t think so. By 2011, Generation Y – people between the ages of 16 and 34 – will outnumber the baby boomer generation. You want to know something interesting? Ninety-six (96%) percent of them use social media on a daily basis. It’s a part of their normal routine. They text, they Facebook, they Twitter, and they communicate with each other this way every day. It’s also how they’ll do business next year and next decade.

All of this connectedness is really a difference between eras, perhaps even cultures. The baby boomer generation had their way and it was different than the way their parents and grandparents did things in the old world. The next generation will have their way and it will be different than the way of their parents and grandparents. We older folks will either adapt or fall by the wayside. As for me, I plan to adapt. It’s a new world and social media is helping to shape it.