The race is on. Nearly every credit union, bank, and business is chasing after a new demographic. We all see the importance of capturing the attention of the 70 million members of generation Y. Just like the Boston Marathon, this isn’t a race to enter unprepared.
The way generation Y thinks about business, communication, and life in general is completely different than even the Gen-X-ers who preceded them. This is leaving many business leaders scratching their heads, wondering how to reach this new group of individuals.
The world of web 2.0 is a daunting thing from the outside. It is nearly impossible to describe to somebody who has never used Twitter, Facebook, or Wikipedia what exactly they are. Like the Matrix, nobody can be told what it is. You have to see it for yourself.
So, what does it take to enter this new space? In a single word: experience.
To truly understand how the world of the social internet works you have to experience it. As daunting as the space might look from the outside, its much simpler to get involved than you might think.
Most social sites require little more than an email address to get started. The best way to find out what this whole web 2.0 thing is all about is to sign up on something like Facebook or Twitter. Enter the conversation. Explore menus, applications, and groups. Watch how things go down. It’s really not as scary as it seems.
The thing with social networks is that from the outside they seem incomprehensibly large. Once you enter the space and start to see how it functions though, it becomes apparent that what you once saw as a massive collection of people is really divided up into countless, smaller social circles.
It’s almost like walking into the lunch room at high school as the new kid. At first it seems daunting. It looks like a giant mass of people with no order, structure, or division. Once you sit down, talk to people, and find the people you want to talk to, the social circles start to become apparent. No longer is the lunch room a giant mass of people, but a collection of smaller, coherent circles.
The best advice I can give to a credit union looking to enter the world of web 2.0 is, get involved personally. Enter the space as an individual. Post pictures you have, search out old schoolmates and friends who might already be there. Find the familiar faces and get used to how the space works. Start a conversation. The great thing about social networking is that, on a personal level, there really isn’t a “wrong way” to go about things. So go ahead...take the red pill, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
As a side note, one of our board members, Lee Cabana, has recently set up his own Facebook account. Check him out and say hi!