By Rebecca Bennett
Did you know that your tweeting can help us recover from this recession? Technology, communication, and the market are much more interrelated than you may think. And we have come such a long way technologically since the first practical form of long distance communication surfaced in the 18th century with the invention of the telegraph. Now take the telegraph, add audio capability with voice control, a screen with touch technology, Wi-Fi and throw in some ads, and you have got the modern day form of communication. But instead of a traditional 2 way communication model, it is a 3 way model. Advertisers behind the scenes are collecting enormous amounts of data on you based on your usage. This has dynamically affected the landscape of global communication as well as the market.
Back in the day, before monetary currencies were the main form of exchange, people had to actually go seek out what they wanted on foot and then have something of value the seller wanted so they could trade. The dynamic of supply and demand was very stale, with a lot of hit and miss. Now, the digital landscape has not only created a greater dynamic, but more importantly has created greater equilibrium between supply and demand, which stabilizes our market.
This dynamic has gradually improved with the evolution of communication devices. Starting with the telegraph in 1794, we then fast-forward about 100 years to the 1890’s when the telephone and radio emerged. By 1900 telephone transmission extended across the major cities and the 1910’s saw the opening of the transcontinental telephone as well as the wireless radio telephone which didn’t boom until WWII. In the early 1920’s the rotary dial phone surfaced, only to combine the ringer and handset of the telephone into 1 device by 1940. 1964 and 1966 saw the touch-tone key pad and email break-through. Ten years later the first call on a portable cellular phone was made, making it popular among traveling execs.
Although this faster facilitation of communication has helped supply to be better able to meet our demands, the market was still very limiting to advertisers. They were limited to cold calls, radio, billboards, and publications. For example, let’s say an advertiser rented space on a billboard to promote their product. They’re cost is based on the # of people who drive by that billboard everyday. They are limited to gaining info about the people who saw it. Same goes for publications and radio. The only consumer info they have access to are the basic demographic info such as male-female ratio of subscribers/listeners, age range, income range, etc.
When text messaging materialized in 1993 with the appearance of the 1st smart phone, that burst open the market for a whole new way to get messages across to people, especially for the 3rd party advertiser. Social media’s debut with blogger in 1999, tapped into a gold mine for advertisers, followed by Facebook and it’s competitors in the early 2000’s and finally You-Tube and Twitter by 2006. 213 years from when we started, the i-phone hits the market and advertisers couldn’t be happier. Now instead of calling you as customer due diligence, advertisers can sit behind the screen of your phone undetected, much like a one-way window and get not only demographic info, but your usage data as well, thanks to cookies. Advertisers can leverage these comprehensive sources of data to better target their market. Now they know exactly not only how many people saw their ad and their demographic, but their wants, interests, routine schedules, to-the-second location, where they will likely be next, monitor your spending trends, predict your next purchase, etc. Advertisers can now know not only what online publications you subscribe to but know that the content on page 7 and 16 interest you the most and can gear ads related to that content towards you. With traditional advertising consumer info is nowhere near as granular.
For example, if a 30 year old female who makes $100,000 a year living in Los Angeles does a search on her smart phone for a new Toyota, the search engine recognizes her want and then loads only local car related ads in a queue that are high-end cars mostly purchased by women. As she searches for cars, she will get closer to meeting her need; a perfect instance of supply meeting demand in a much more efficient fashion.
However, the real key value of this faster chain reaction of supply meeting demand is that once consumers get what they want, they move onto their next purchase much more quickly. Consequently, consumers are consuming faster and more than ever before. The market has sped up, with the delay-time between a product meeting the consumer in need in unprecedented record time. Other benefits to this are that there will be fewer opportunities for shortages/overage. Less overage is beneficial for our environment by saving resources, especially non-renewable ones. Additionally, with supply and demand more in sync the economy becomes more stable and less volatile. If an economy is less prone to recessions/depressions/inflation, then jobs will be stable and crime will drop. With more people working, the government will receive more money from income taxes to fund government programs and earners will have the capability to give back to their communities. The opportunity for a better quality of life will arise as this chain reaction evolves.
In conclusion, digital communication is so much more than tweeting to your followers about your latest engagement. It’s about supporting the stability of the economy. So keep on tweeting, and let’s tweet our way out of this recession!
1) Advertising Age. “The Advertising Century” Special Issue: Ad Age Advertising Century: Timeline. March 29, 1999.
2) Admin. Cellphones.org.Timeline of the Analog Phone. February 11, 2010.
3) Sean Carton. IdFive.com. Social Media Timeline. July 16, 2009.