A project I am working on, has me wondering about the disconnect between the digital haves and have/want-nots and the impacts of this digital divide. This higher-ed marketing project requires me to contact academics and institutions throughout the world.
An educator in Iraq confessed
… in my country this service ( buying books from internet ) not exist…
This is understandable, given the turmoil in that country. The infrastructure is obviously in disarray.
A leading academic in India indicated that many professors in rural areas felt their jobs were threatened by efforts to provide high quality, free higher-ed to the masses. This results in a situation in which the very people who should be actively encouraging technology adoption, are reluctant to do so. In this case, human insecurities were the culprit rather than any infrastructural limitations.
My experience shows me that even in developed nations the argument for and against technology in pedagogy is ongoing.
All this presents unique marketing challenges and I have had to adopt a multitude of tactics including telemarketing and direct mail campaigns in addition to email, SEO, Social Media, CPC/CPM etc. Suffice to say that a digital only marketing strategy would fail to tackle the complexity and objectives of this particular project.
It is fun; challenging too, considering that some faculty and students prefer traditional, hard copy learning material while others demand product support for multiple platforms and devices. Since the product development is also handled by my team, all this keeps us pretty busy, but I digress.
On one side there is a section of society that seems to devote considerable amounts of time to a virtual world, complete with a sub-culture of content creation, sharing/curation, ecommerce; even social scoring and social stock trading.
On the other, there are those who are unable to access a simple online transaction.
Will this divide get more entrenched? Will it lead to a point where it so great that there is a complete social, economic and cultural disconnect between the digitally immersed and the digitally reluctant?
Do you think that this digital divide will add to the pre-existing schisms in the world? Or will technology ultimately triumph as the unifier that many of us envisioned it to be?
Let’s face it, with the healthy lead of 750 million+ users, established by Facebook, Google Plus will take a good while to catch up. Even if the mainstream are to ‘overcome social media fatigue’, that is.
So we plod along on G+, in wonderment of the growing ‘circularity’ of the early adoptscoble, et al.
Meanwhile, most of us have adopted Google’s offering, only half-heartedly. Awaiting that ‘Tipping Point’, when the bulk of our Facebook friends make the switch too.
Meanwhile the digerrati and twitterati, tantalize with tales of G+ goodness. Some, even switching to Google’s social network, without the slightest hesitation.
However, unless the mainstream switches over, G+ will remain a niche social networking site, second fiddle to Facebook. Maybe Google should tackle it another way.
Now, I refer to WordPress loosely even if it is the leading content management system worldwide. What I actually mean is that G+ can probably be a very effective content creation and publication platform, if Google makes it easier for content creators to switch to it, making G+ the publishing platform of choice.
There have always been very good reasons why content creators should own their content. Unlike Facebook, whose business model and lead depends on the data that is created and shared within its gates, Google can afford to open up because it plays King, rather well, elsewhere.
I tried live blogging a recent trip with G+. Uploading images were easier and quicker than on Facebook. Love the way the comments are displayed against each pic etc. However, to make me abandon my blog and thumb my nose at those who warn against doing so, here is what I’d like Google to do:
All this should help users rapidly set up an online presence with a powerful, integrated social layer. The intuitive concept of circles could also help individuals switch seamlessly between private and professional realms.
I’m guessing that as more content creators use G+ as their central hubs, the mainstream will interact with and adopt G+ in increasing numbers. Content creators will finally be able to easily consolidate their online presence and activity.
Before we know it, each individual, will have their own open OR private, ‘ Social Web Hub’ instead of being part of a walled-in ‘social network’.
Google has thrived due to its ability to bring us relevant results. Opening up the G+ platform will probably make it easier for them to do this better. Then the new social layer will, perhaps, allow them to do it the best yet.
Does this make sense to you? Any other way G+ can increase mainstream adoption rates? Maybe some of the features are already implemented or underway? Other thoughts?
If you have not seen my recent post about 3 common online marketing mistakes of small business on the brandbyte.com site, then you have missed this fabulous animation . Rather than deny you the pleasure; here it is.