E-dapt is a business eBook on SEO and Internet Marketing
The Industrial Revolution and the Digital Revolution share the same catalyst that changed the world forever: the engine. The 1876 World’s Fair did not herald the Industrial Revolution; it was the fruition of it. When the ten million people who had visited the exposition when travel was extremely difficult left the grounds, their lives were completely changed. Technology was no longer a flight of fancy; it was a life improving reality. The engine brought about the age of steam technology, telegraphs, railroads and mass production. Society changed both culturally and economically from that point onwards. Businesses had to adapt. Those that fought the rise of the machines eventually had to surrender to the tide of technology or be footnotes in history. Business owners it is time to harness the power of the search engine or lose money!
The sheer physicality of the Industrial Revolution was daunting to some, but they had to get with the times. Today, we are in the midst of an ongoing Digital Revolution. What started off as a cell phone the size of bricks is now a palm size Smart phone connecting us to the world. All of us know at least two people who do not even get out of bed before they check their phone. The thought of losing our mobiles bring about an acute sense of panic because our lives would not function as easily without them. Devices may change, but their intent never does. Machinery from 1876 to now should make our lives easier and connected to each other. Businesses can flourish or die on the vine with this rapidly evolving technology. Marketing has never been more convenient or easier for those willing to adapt to the power of the search engine.
Luddites, Past and Present
Luddites-those that oppose the advancement of technology
Not everyone was happy about the Industrial Revolution. A group of middle class, self-employed textile artisans christened Luddites threatened by what they did not know and lacking a long-term vision, destroyed the new machines in secret. They grew afraid the Industrial Revolution would exterminate their way of life and force them into destitution. In many regards, they were correct. With these new machines, their skills became obsolete. Revolutions, in order to be true change, must destroy the old way of life and instill a new order that is distinctly different for better or worse.
Engine based machines eliminated the need for skilled loom workers and the like. The distrust of machines was widespread and affected all commerce industries. There were agricultural Luddites as well who destroyed threshing machines. People were afraid of this change and rather than embrace it, fought it every step of the way much to their detriment. One option would have been to adapt and become machine operators. Revolutions inherently threaten people. The less informed a person is, the more likely they will react in an emotional way. It is crucial to be informed rather than emotional when dealing with business matters and the internet.
Technology will almost always replace jobs that no longer serve the needs of the world. There is no going around that. A decade ago, people could not fathom the job of a social media specialist. It would have been laughed off unnecessary and people would resume what was standard for them, namely low tech and low yield. Now it is a qualification for some jobs. Everyone likes what is safe for him or her. However, safe does not translate into adaptation. Technology was then and continues to be an untamable force. We will always be in the dark about the future, which is why there is comfort is keeping things as is. Hindsight is 20/20 whereas foresight can easily be wrong or misinterpreted. Although technology is a force, history is as well and regardless of personal reservations, we must always move forward.
Luddites are not outdated, however. Present day Luddites are much sneakier. They are the naysayers of modern technology. These people said social media was a fad as is always said with new technology. Many continue to say these Ludacris things even as you read these words. Internet marketing is deemed not as effective as print or radio despite the numbers to say otherwise. How they disparage social media/internet marketing is almost verbatim what was said when television was introduced to the world. The same naysayers declared that radio was too ingrained into family life for anything else to take over. Once they grew comfortable with radio and movies that brought once a week glamour to suburban life, they shunned the introduction of the television set calling it a talking pine box that no one would stare at for longer than an hour. Television trumped both movies and radio, but neither medium has disappeared. In fact, in conjunction, they can all help businesses. No technology even goes to waste. Radio and television are still forces today. Technology heralds change and lives do change. The last two hundred years have changed more than any other period thanks to technology.
Perhaps the best way to think of the history of technology is through a three screen revolution: the television screen, computer screen, and smartphone screen.
Television did not gain traction until the 1950s. Radio was the only medium capable of mass communication in the early part of last century. Families sat down in the living room listening to programs letting their imaginations take the helm. Life was more community based with people getting their kicks from community gossip and a regular dose of glamour every Saturday with movie matinees. Advertisers marketed over this medium without major success because it was the best option available at the time. Potential clients could not see the product and were harder to convince of its value.
Television raced on to the scene with much resistance. Radio pioneers and personalities believed television was a fad. People felt safe with the radio and preferred it. As the medium grew from a few stations to the fastest growing new invention at that time, it became a force to be reckoning with for marketers. Sellers had to scramble to appeal to the visual medium. In fact, in the early days of black and white television actors had to wear green facial makeup and black lipstick to appear normal on screen. There were a few kinks despite it surpassing radio almost immediately. Then came national events, which could be televised for the first time. When people felt they were right there with the action, television trumped radio forever. Television opened the world up for small communities by showing a larger life outside their sheltered homes. Life changed, especially with the youth. Kids raced home to watch programs and Saturday morning cartoons became an epic part of childhood. When grandparents tried to entice their grandkids into listening to the radio, they were met with protests of “that’s boring”.
Much like television, the young before the rest of the world caught up easily adapted the internet. The internet started as military backed research project despite Al Gore claiming he invented the internet. It took a while to reach civilians. Once it did in the 1990s, it exploded. People were able to connect and the world became a smaller place with web surfers who were also curious. Information was everywhere. Television had allowed everyone to have a unified visual, but the internet in many ways celebrated the individual. Interests and hobbies suddenly found millions with the same likes. Global niches began forming. Advertisers had a new medium, but were clumsy in their approach to it. Some ads popped up every few seconds and tried too hard to be like television commercials. Just as it was when transitioning from radio to television, the gaffes proved powerful learning lessons and the ads toned down while improving in quality. The focus now is on content rather than flash.
Simultaneously improving in quality were cellphones. No longer huge bricks from the 80s second wave cellphones had the added capacity to text, but little more. By 2006 new devices such as Blackberries enabled one to talk, text, and check their email all on a singular device. This was revolutionary at the time. Soon the device was ubiquitous as having a phone was no longer a status symbol, it was a modern necessity. Our lives went from wanting a cellphone and dial up to needing it for almost everything. Internet and cellphones evolved simultaneously until the two eventually blended into the smartphone of 2007. The same teenagers that flocked to the internet embraced the new systems of communications as adults. It was a near seamless transition for those already familiar with technology, but majorities of marketers hesitated and still do to invest.
History repeats itself for those who are not willing to evolve. The early adapters of new mediums reap the rewards and push humankind forward. All technology is a new way to communicate. Anything new meets with resistance throughout the ages, but the early adapters always flourish. Now you can join in as well with a bit more knowledge. Those that feel they cannot join in are wrong. Anyone can join at any time and still reap the benefits. For example, modern humans spend more time engrossed in their mobile devices than reading print, but print publications still get 25 times more marketing money than mobile. At this point in the evolution of technology and communication, this is simply asinine. There is no good argument for not investing in the internet and the old stance of “this is just how it always has been done” no longer rings true. The cost of doing business should not make you the dunce or the Miss Havisham of radio. The argument can be made that if it such a force, then why doesn’t everything related to social media and the internet take off. The answer is simple: not everything works and not everyone has talent. My Space has had different incarnations and some could say it didn’t pan out. Still, it can be seen as a predecessor to Facebook, which is used in every country on an hourly basis. Without Facebook, how could we stalk exes or let everyone know what we are eating three times a day? Different programs may not work out, but the force of change is still in motion. The revolution will not only be televised, but viewers have the capacity to make comments about it and have others respond. The market is there, all you have to do is take a calculated risk to make it work for you. I promise your competitors are already doing so.