Altimeter Group partner and technology columnist Michael Gartenberg closed out mediabistro.com‘s Think Mobile conference Thursday afternoon at Comix in New York with a panel titled Social Ubiquity: The Disruption When Mobile and Social Networks Intersect.
Gartenberg touched on how social networks and mobile applications influence users’ decisions, and how companies should react to feedback, both positive and negative.
On decision-making, he said, “Consumers are now empowered to never make bad decisions. We are empowered to do so, but we don’t always use that ability.” Gartenberg added that social networks and relationships reinforce behavior, leading people to do things based on recommendations from people they don’t know and have never heard of, and decisions “now include real-time information, contextual data, social factors beyond the physical sphere of influence and reach — information that is always available, always on, persistent, and in-pocket.”
As for its effect on companies, he mentioned the recent Twitter fracas between Southwest Airlines and filmmaker Kevin Smith, saying, “Social influences now must be factored in. Experiences are exaggerated and magnified in real-time, good and bad. Stories become legends, and they get told and retold and retold again. There are no more secrets.”
He called the rapid movement of information across social networks “reputation inertia,” saying that it is a “powerful force” and advising companies:
If you have a brand and you’re not monitoring what’s being said about your brand in real-time, you’re making a mistake. But it’s not just having the information — you have to be able to respond instantly, and you have to be able to respond in real-time. Eventually, the voices of 100 million start to show truth.