Social media: When ANTs take over the world!

Social media: When ANTs take over the world!

One thing is for certain…; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to…toil in their underground sugar caves.

Kent Brockman

Yes, the ants will take over the world. But something tells me Kent Brockman and I have different definitions of the kind of ant that will lead this revolution.

To me there is a major difference between those businesses and brands that understand how the web is transforming their world – and those that will end up being rounded up by a yellow-faced Springfield news reader with a one-way ticket to the sugar caves. And it’s got nothing to do with technology.

I know I posted this video on the blog last year, but it’s highly relevant to this discussion. It may be a couple of years old, but it remains the best illustration of how the web is a human – and not technological – construct.

 

What is interesting is that the video wasn’t produced by a computer scientist or web programmer. It was produced by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. That’s right – anthropology: the study of human behaviour.

The web is about people. Web 2.0 is even more about people. Web 3.0
will be even more about people. Technology isn’t making success
push-button easy – it’s allowing people to share and collaborate in
increasingly ingenious ways. People are the engine of the web. If you
don’t account for how they behave, it is like driving a car without
ever realising there’s powerful machinery under the hood.

And
that doesn’t mean the way you would hope they behave, or the best case
scenario you told the board of directors. It doesn’t mean the way a
marketing manual from twenty years ago promises you they’ll behave in a
time when the internet and mobile devices hadn’t redistributed
communication power. It is the way people genuinely do behave; often
surprising, often ingenious, sometimes even stretching legality
(such as with copyright). Anthropology blurs such rules.

An understanding of human behaviour separates those businesses who seem to effortlessly flow through the web attracting an audience of loyal customers and those still looking for the bit of script or neat piece of software that will automise success. They understand what people want to achieve. They genuinely listen and interact. They realise that websites, blogs, Twitter and other networks are just tools, not golden eggs, and any tool used badly won’t achieve anything. They are ANTs.

The ANTs will rule – those who remember:

Anthropology,
Not
Technology.

…and assess every business decision through that principle and not based solely on whatever shiny new toy just came out. If your strategy fails the ANT test – meaning you can’t answer how it taps into true warts-and-all human behaviour – then drop it. It’s a dud.

We see these sugar cave dwellers everywhere: company bulletin boards that no one visits; blogs that are ignored because they never write what people want to read; Twitter strategies that say ‘look at me’ without ever giving a suitable reason why anyone should; websites that look fantastic but fail to help the customer buy a product in the way they want to.

Are you an ANT or do you need to learn how to collect sugar in the dark?