Recently Men’s Health posted the Top 100 Socially Networked Cities in the U.S. There were a few surprises, especially with some cities that I expected to see in the top 10 (Chicago #39, New York #53). There was also a little disappointment to see Detroit ranked #94 in the study and listed under “least socially networked.” Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to put any weight in a study like this however, it did make me realize that the place I call home has a long way to go. I sometimes forget that not everyone uses Foursquare or Gowalla to check in. People I know still don’t get Twitter. What is Instagram? Tumblr…huh? I think you get the idea.
This ranking goes further than being socially networked. It goes further than the many entrepreneurs I know that are determined to open up shop in the city and look for their opportunities to make a difference Detroit’s rebirth. What is going to actually make a difference? I think it has to be the adoption of not just the social tools I mentioned earlier, but also the adoption of the technologies that are available today by the large corporations in the area.
Look at what Ford has done in the social space. They are leveraging the tools. They have created a personality behind the blue oval. They are developing vehicles that leverage the new connected customer and making the car more than just a car. Don’t blink. Now they are looking to the cloud.
The biggest thing that we can do as “socially connected” people is educate. We have a network that we should leverage and begin to find ways to teach others. The biggest asset we have is not a particular product or service. It’s actually our intellectual property and what we know about technology and the web that we must share.
I still see companies trying things they’ve always done before. Marketing has changed. PR has changed. Sales has changed. Customer service has changed. All because of the web and the social tools at our disposal. I’m not suggesting the web is the cure for everything (but it’s close!). What I am suggesting is that the web has now become more of an integral part of how people and companies do business in the world today. The “traditional” methods of doing business are now historical methods. The “future” technologies are now current technologies.
It’s time to educate so Detroit can move up from least socially networked to one of the top socially networked cities. What are you doing to teach others? Start by inviting them to 2 upcoming events this April…Ignite Detroit on April 14th and Future Midwest on April 28-29. After that, do something with the knowledge you’ll gain and the connections you’ll make. #makeithappen