The need for social media development services

The Internet was not invented by Al Gore. Sorry, Al. Its infancy, however, was spent under the tutelage of the United States government, wh...

The Internet was not invented by Al Gore. Sorry, Al. Its infancy, however, was spent under the tutelage of the United States government, which invented the ARPAnet communications network in 1969 in the event that a military attack destroyed conventional communications systems. It’s rather amusing to think that the Internet, which was fully embraced by weed-smoking liberals and other anti establishment types back in the 1970s, was actually a byproduct of the “evil military industrial complex.”

social media development services

The Internet, as we’ve come to know and love it, was jump-started in 1989, and thrust into full throttle in 1993. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee of Geneva’s European particle research laboratory (CERN) proposed that a hypertext system for easy information exchange among widely dispersed research teams be created. Hypertext was actually invented back in the 1970s, but it was Berners-Lee who first thought of using hypertext to self-organize online documents that would eventually come to be called the World Wide Web. While some effort was made to develop friendly
interfaces (e.g., the furry little Gopher, named after the University of Minnesota’s school mascot), it wasn’t until 1993 that the rest of the world sat up and took notice.

In that year, a pudgy college student named Marc Andreessen invented Mosaic, the first graphical user interface for the World Wide Web. It was clumsy, and it didn’t do very much. Since it was an academic exercise, you could only get it by downloading it from the Internet itself—at the time not an easy task. But anyone who took the time to try it out instantly saw the possibilities.

Since 1993 the Internet has grown at an astonishing rate. From a dull, gray, and rather limited interface and text-based e-mail we have sprinted into full color interactivity and e-mail that has the capability of transmitting audio as well as video. The Internet age has truly arrived.

One of the most memorable telegraph transmissions was the one which was missed by the only possible ship that could have saved all the passengers of the Titanic. The most memorable telephone call was the one in which Alexander Graham Bell said, “Watson, can you hear me?” In each case the technology was new but would soon be adopted by millions and would thus be woven into the very
thread of everyday life—as comfortable as an old blanket. For most of us in the First World, there’s nothing revolutionary about a telephone anymore. Nor is the Internet very revolutionary any more. It too is as comfortable as a warm blanket.

Technology Becomes an Extension of Ourselves
Technology has become our third arm. We’re glued to our cell phones, and many of us would rather watch the game on TV rather than venture out in traffic to the ball park. Satellite dishes are springing up on every south-facing facade in sight, and many a church steeple has become a front for a cell phone tower. We salivate over the thought of HDTV and jump on every new tech trend even if it means we have to throw out perfectly good technology (e.g., 8-track cassettes, anyone?) that was introduced just a few years before.

People even have a tendency to humanize the things that we integrate into our lives. We give cars pet names and scream foul humanist epithets (you dirty $%$#@) at our computers when they misbehave. We trust our televisions to babysit our children and let our microwave ovens cook us up a quick meal. We even rely on our car’s navigation system not to let us get lost.

We have become our technology, and our technology has become us. The Internet is the most human of all these technologies because it can actually talk back to us. One of the greatest of all human needs is the need to communicate with other people. Prisoners placed in “stir” often go crazy from the isolation, the effect called “stir crazy.” Humans are nothing if not communal. From primitive times we banded together in small tribes. While protection from predators was certainly one of the best reasons to travel in packs, the most important reason was the feeling of
warmth and belonging that we get when we’re part of a group that understands and cares about us.

When Tim Berners-Lee developed a proposal that hyperlinked documents could be the basis for a World Wide Web of similarly themed documents, little did he realize that this one idea would spawn entire online communities. Whether your bag is UFOs, gay rights, or business, there is a community specifically geared for you—available day or night—and directly accessible from the comfort of your own home, pajamas and all.

When hunter–gatherers finally decided to end their hunting and foraging and set up agricultural communities, they radically improved on a primitive way of securing their sustenance. They did what humans do best. They invented an improvement. Fire was an invention. So was the wheel. Humans traveled to the far corners of the known world until each of these inventions was disseminated to other humans in other tribes and communities. This is called technological evolution.

So when it comes to the Internet, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that folks can be quite creative in their use of the technology and everyone else quite adaptive in using it in similar or slightly different ways when they finally find out about it.

Why We Use the Web
When the web was young, it was the realm of academics, leading-edge technoids, and small businesspeople finally happy to find a cheap way to get their names in front of prospective clients—without big business competitors blowing them out of the water. Today big business all but dominates the Internet.

With the dot-com disaster a painful and rather expensive but increasingly distant memory, big business has come into its own as the major supplier of what all of us information junkies want.

Over 40 years ago the personal computer was introduced. Over these past four decades we’ve all grown accustomed to sitting at a desk with fingers on keyboard staring into a monitor. While many among us like to brag about the brilliant kids we’ve spawned who seem to have been prewired for computer brilliance at birth, the truth of the matter is that today’s computers are fairly simple to use and so ubiquitous that it’s now second nature to sit yourself down with a cup of coffee and an Internet connection.

Cyber-cafes, kiosks in malls, and rows of Internet enabled PCs at the public library attest to this ubiquity. And with ubiquity comes comfort—a comfort so great that even the most senior among us like to dabble. Seniors, children, and everyone in the middle are using the web, primarily for these two purposes. This is quite natural, however, since information gathering and communicating are a large part of what we have always been doing. Pre-Internet it was done in libraries, via phone, and through the mail. Today we still use these media, but as usual we
are using technology, in the form of the Internet, to augment our traditional way of doing things.

The Internet is a reflection of our interests, no more and no less. It lets us be us. If we choose to it also lets us transform ourselves into the person we really wanted to be in the first place. We can be shy. We can be sexy. We can use the Internet to do good, and we can use the Internet to perpetrate fraud—and even worse. If you’re good, then you will be good on the Internet. If you’re evil ... well, rotten eggs are always rotten eggs.

Changed Nature of Work
When my friends commiserate with each other over the rather lousy job situation today, they like to talk about their fathers. Dad, they say, had an unwritten contract with his employer. He’d get to work for 25 or so years, and they would never think of laying him off. He had job security.

Most of our dads, in fact, did have only one job for most of their careers. I know mine did. Dad worked for CIT Financial in New York City for several decades, after stints in the army, college, and as a tour-bus hawker in Times Square during the 1940s. He moved slowly, but surely, up the corporate ladder and finally, late in his career, actually became an officer of the company. When he retired, they gave him a party, a watch, and a pension, and that was that.

Today most of us have anywhere from five to seven jobs during a career punctuated by layoffs, resignations, and generally not very good times. But it’s a fantasy to think that all of our dads and granddads really had it any better.

One need only look at great literature for a record of what the “olden days” were really like. From Charles Dickens’ painfully vivid description of being poor in the London of Oliver Twist to Upton Sinclair’s sensational account of what work life was like for meatpacking workers in (1906) The Jungle. Both books provoked public outrage. In fact, President Theodore Roosevelt was so horrified by Sinclair’s depiction of workplace amputations, lacerations, and other injuries that he launched a federal inquiry into the practices of Chicago’s meatpacking industry. It wasn’t until after World War II, however, that the meatpackers’ union finally gave the workers in this industry what they fought so hard for: a middle class existence.

Eric Schlosser in his very fine book Fast Food Nation deconstructs how the meatpacking industry went from using high-paid skilled labor to largely unskilled, migrant labor in just a few short decades. The cause, according to Schlosser, was McDonald’s.

Once upon a time in America, everyone could afford to eat out in restaurants. When the national highway system was built and automobile travel became ubiquitous, fast food restaurants were born to service these now car-loving Americans. Back then, however, fast food meant car hops, short order cooks, and a varied menu. If you’re old enough, you might remember the short skirted girls on roller skates who took your order; everyone else is invited to rent the now legendary movie American Graffiti to get a feel for the era.

All those girls and short order cooks were expensive for the owners of these first fast food establishments. Taking a cue from the assembly lines of automobile manufacturing, the fast food industry now automates and standardizes practically every facet of the business. Skilled labor need no longer apply.

As the fast food industry began to consolidate to a very few, very large players (e.g., McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.), they decided that they needed to call the shots beyond their own restaurant doors. They now wanted to call the shots in the meatpacking industry. Dictating what, how, and where, they also decided to reduce the number of meatpacking firms they would work with. The ones chosen ultimately became meatpacking industry powerhouses.

In 1960, two former Swift & Company executives decided to start their own meatpacking company to compete with these giants. But it couldn’t be business as usual. They need to dramatically reduce production costs to stay in the game. To do so, they decided to apply the same techniques used at McDonald’s: eliminate skilled labor. Using a combination of technology, new procedures, and cheap immigrant labor, they did just this. Not only did they successfully achieve their goal of reducing costs, they created a whole new way of packaging meat. Instead
of shipping whole sides of beef, they now shipped smaller cuts, vacuum-sealed or plastic-packed. This new marketing technique virtually eliminated the need for skilled butchers in grocery stores as well.

Meatpacking isn’t the only industry to be “modernized” by technology plus low-skilled labor. Farm owners are also using this combination to reduce costs. Of course, a by product of these techniques is the reduced demand for domestic workers.

Like the meatpacking industry, growers much prefer newly arrived immigrants. In fact, the government has a program which enables farmers to import 42,000 workers on H-2A visas to harvest crops.

So here we have it again: unskilled labor + technology = McDonaldization. Of course, this formula is not limited to meatpacking and agriculture. A variation of McDonaldization has been creeping its way into industry since the formula was created.

Technological advances coupled with cheap labor overseas have further diminished the opportunities for American workers in several ways. When was the last time you called an 800 number for help? You’re probably no longer surprised to find that a goodly number of folks that you are talking to are thousands of miles away. That sweet woman with the Midwestern accent on the other end of the phone just might be sitting in a massive call center somewhere in India.

Technologically Enabled Worker
Workers, here and abroad, all have one thing in common. They are tethered to their work pretty much 24–7. How is this possible? The Internet coupled with the office intranet permits you to work anyplace, anytime. All you need is a PC, a modem (and this can be wireless or broadband), and a connection to the web. Few people can just call in sick anymore. If they have a computer at home, they can merely sit in their bathrobes with a box of tissues on the desk, and accomplish the same amount of work that they would have if they went to work with that nasty cold.

Need to write a report and send it to a dozen co-workers? Your trusty word processor coupled with a broadcast e-mail will work just fine. There are even web-enabled high-speed printers if that report needs to be collated, bound, and then distributed. You can even hold meetings and give presentations using web services. I just viewed a demonstration of a complicated PC-based software package. The demo was given using the client’s PC using WebEx’s ( real-time business meeting service. According to Stephen S. Roach, an economist often quoted in the New York Times, the dirty little secret of the information age is that an increasingly large slice of work goes on outside the official work hours the government recognizes and employers admit to. Electronic devices ranging from telephones and fax machines and pagers to cell phones and portable e-mail devices mean employees are connected to the workplace 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

One creative group of employees created their quarterly review by using video chat software, recording it, saving it as a podcast, and then letting their manager watch the video via the Internet. This seems to be becoming a trend. A survey found that 69% now view these sorts of videos on their PCs, with 33% viewing on their smartphones. It should come as no surprise that social media marketing for restaurants, the focus of this blog, has become the number one category of online activity that Americans engage in online according to NielsenWire.

Between 2009 and 2010, use of social networks grew by an astounding 43%, up from 15.8% of time spent online to 22.7%. As of 2011, nearly four out of five active Internet users use social networks, according to Nielsen’s 2011 “The Social Media Report” ( Since so many workers are already enamored of social media development services, exhibiting a real facility for using it, it makes sense to leverage this level of expertise to promote enhance productivity, efficiency, and maybe even competitive advantage.



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The need for social media development services
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