Conservationists are up in arms about the Internet. They are pointing out – ironically using the Internet – that the web is responsible for threatening more endangered species than ever. Apparently you can order a polar bear skin online, or if you want you can get a baby lion shipped to you. That’s to say nothing about the ivory trade or other rare items which are traded online. True, the Internet has made it much easier for the criminal gangs to sell their goods. But the Internet is also responsible for the impending death of another species.
The “traditionalist”, the “old-fashioned”, the “dinosoaur” of business is on the way out; and not before time. There are several business leaders and so-called experts who are completely out of step with the modern world we now inhabit. It’s rather like the people who loved gas lamps saying “that electric light nonsense will never catch on”.
Nowhere is that more obvious than in the world of Government and its quangos. Yesterday, Labour MP Ann Begg advised people never to go near Twitter. In touch with the electorate? Seemingly not. And today Ofcom has reprimanded GMTV for including a link to a commercial website on its own site. I kid you not. Ofcom reckons that having a link to Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert web site was promoting his business. And apparently, that’s bad. OK then, Ofcom, you’d better ban all advertising on GMTV as well and perhaps Corrie shouldn’t get sponsored by a furniture company. After all, they use tables and chairs in the Rovers Return – that could be a promotion for the sponsor. Ummmm!
Dinosaurs are alive and well at Ofcom obviously; totally out of touch. Many of the viewers of GMTV probably want to save money. The reason GMTV has Martin Lewis on the sofa is because of his passionate delivery of money-saving advice. Linking to his website is what GMTV viewers want…! Suggesting it’s some dastardly act is to completely misunderstand the multimedia world in which we now live.
These two stories – about real endangered species and the endangering of a species we actually want rid of – are a potent reminder that we now live in a different world; a dramatically altered one from that which we inhabited even five years ago. The slowness of businesses to respond to these significant shifts in expectations, understanding and use of Internet technologies is a threat to the very existence of such firms. It may well be that many organisations, such as Ofcom, or businesses which want to live in the past, will soon go the way of the polar bear.
Don’t be an endangered online species; understand the Internet and use it with vigour in your business.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+