In the mid- to late-90s, many business leaders observed the advent of the Web and asked the wrong question: “What will the Internet do for us?” Instead, they should have been asking, “What will the Internet do to us?”
The difference between these two questions is the difference between a false sense of security and a necessity for action. It’s the difference between Amazon organizing itself around the online channel in 1994 and Barnes & Noble opening an e-commerce site in 1997—today Amazon is worth $55.7B and Barnes & Noble has a $1.1B market cap. It’s also the difference between newspapers struggling with a 70% decline in classified advertising over the course of a decade and eBay seeing revenues increase over 1900% in the same period.
Today, many business leaders are again asking the wrong question: “What will social media do for us?” instead of “What will social media do to us?” The difference between those two questions will define the business winners and losers of the next decade. Let’s explore what social media already is doing to business and how organizations must adapt.