Yesterday, U2’s lead singer, Bono, apologized to the world for force-feeding their latest album to Apple iPhone users.
Why? He cited a “deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years might not be heard. There's a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it."
If Bono is working harder to break through the Internet noise, it’s pretty clear we need to step up our game as well.
We can show you how.
Over the next couple of days we are going to explain how social media has profoundly changed the way we communicate and why this change has made it so difficult to get your story heard by the people that matter.
Then we’re going to show you exactly what you can to break through the Internet clutter and get your story heard in the Interactive Age.
But in order to understand how to communicate—how to be heard—in this brave new world of interactive communication, it’s important to understand where we are today and how we got here.
Let me take you back to January 2012. This was the tipping point when communication officially went from the old way of doing things to the new.
On January 19, 2012—after 124 years of being the first name in photography—Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Kodak was simply too slow to embrace digital photography, despite the fact they invented the technology used in today’s digital cameras back in 1975.
Instagram—an online photo sharing platform—did embrace digital photography and was scooped up by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock soon after Kodak went belly up.
On January 20, 2012—exactly one day after Kodak declared bankruptcy—Chris Dodd, former US Senator and newly minted CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, had his own Kodak moment when his signature legislation—the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA—got shot down following an outcry from us “little people.”
Dodd had sunk millions into lobbying SOPA on the Hill and its passage was expected to be a slam-dunk. But the Internet-using public had other plans.
And after anti-SOPA activists effectively shut down the Internet for one day in protest, the bill got pulled.
This stunning defeat prompted Dodd to publicly threaten his former colleagues on the Hill, saying “Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay attention to me when my job is at stake.”
This honest assessment of “how things work in Washington” resulted in an online petition calling on the White House to investigate Chris Dodd for bribery.
Just over a week later on January 30, Robert McDonald, the CEO of Procter and Gamble—which just happens to be the largest marketer on the planet with a $10 billion annual ad budget—announced that P&G would lay off 1,600 staffers, including marketers, because he finally “discovered it’s free to advertise on Facebook,” as Business Insider put it.
McDonald “retired” a few months later.
Cigars have been exploding in board rooms around the globe since social media really got traction. It’s just that there were so many cigars exploding in 2012 that it sounded like someone was making Jiffy Pop popcorn.
These embarrassing moments were just part of the painful transition from the old to the new for the 20th century movers and shakers.
Up next: "Get off my lawn, ya goddam kids!"