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Citi Doesn’t Think Social Media is a Fad

When my middle school daughter hears a three year old song on the radio and I ask why she doesn’t like it, the common response is, “ew it’s old”.

About now you should be asking yourself what that has to do with Social Media being a fad and Citi, or as I still think of it, Citi Group.

I have been involved in and observing Social Media for more than three years. It doesn’t seem like a long time at all.  By contrast, the predecessor to Citi, City Bank of New York was formed in 1812.

Plenty of opinions are shared about the reach and duration of Social Media. Even Monday night a friend shared his opinion that Twitter would only be around for another two years at which point it would be bought out maybe by Google or Facebook.  The thought that even the term “Social Media” will not be around much longer is quite possible and suits me just fine.

But here is my point. The content creation and sharing that is called Social Media is not going away.

Social Media may get folded into marketing or PR or some other agency moniker, but it is not going away any time soon.  For all the creepiness that Facebook brings, it has brought good social interaction into my experience 95% of the time. Twitter has helped me grow friendships online and in real life and connect with both new colleagues and new clients.  That’s both an individual and a small business point of view on Social Media. But, what are the big guys doing?

The CEO of Citi has his name attached to a letter in the 2010 Citi Annual Report.  Here is an excerpt: ( I added the italics)

Changes in consumer preferences: A new generation of globally minded and tech-savvy people is coming of age and entering the financial system. Globalization has harmonized, to some extent, these consumers’ tastes, spending habits and expectations in ways that make people who live in the world’s largest and most sophisticated urban centers more like one another than ever before. These consumers also have different — and higher — expectations from businesses than their parents.

The demands on businesses that rely on information technology will be especially high: consumers have come to expect instant, fast, reliable, always-on access to a plethora of data. In addition, consumers in differing circumstances and markets increasingly demand products and services tailored to their specific needs. Keeping up with — and staying ahead of — those expectations will require changes to the global retail banking business model that are every bit as significant as the changes being wrought by new regulation.

Social networking and technology pose perhaps the greatest challenge. More than 750 million people around the world now use social networking sites, which are radically changing the way consumers communicate — with each other and with businesses. What used to be simple messages are now interactive and ongoing dialogues.

Industries and businesses that succeed in the new environment are harnessing social network technology to offer highly personalized service and virtual, online communities. In short, consumers everywhere are becoming more knowledgeable and sophisticated. We must treat them accordingly.

Sounds like Citi is “all in” at this point.  That’s the CEO’s letter to all shareholders.

So, if you have family members or clients that are convinced that Social Media is a fad, let them be. Take this knowledge yourself and use it to your advantage. Show them by example. And then when they ask you about your successes maybe share your Social Media story along with this excerpt from the CEO of Citi and observe the response.

Social Media is not for everyone, but if you are holding back for fear of wasting your time and energy, well you are wise.  You will be wiser to add Social Media to your marketing and business building toolbox. Social Media should be part of the mix. Citi certainly thinks so.

What do you think?

39 thoughts on “Citi Doesn’t Think Social Media is a Fad”

  1. @fairminder @chrisbrogan Social media is not a fad because communication is what humans do. That’s the one constant.

  2. I can’t understand how anyone could possibly argue that social media is a fad still. The use of social media by the consumer is well over ten years old! Not to mention the usage of social media channels by thousands of companies continue to prove the validity in connecting with customers through these channels. Good post!

    1. @phillysocial Haha. Good point Jen. I figure it makes sense to pick one for a short blog post. You can read @Ash_Hancock’s Thesis for more.

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