Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In today’s day and age, we live in two different worlds. There is the physical world, in which we are physically present (you sitting at your desk right now) and the digital world, where we are mentally present (you reading this in your mind on a digital device).
Over seven billion individuals reside in the physical world, and over half of those people have access to the digital world. It’s more apparent than ever that power comes from attention. With the growth of the digital world, it’s a game of online attention. This has led reality TV stars to become president. Redditors can single-handedly try to overthrow the financial system (i.e., Gamestop). Everywhere you look, you see musicians and entertainers who look like Saturday morning cartoon characters. Anyone has the opportunity to do anything.
With FaceTime, Zoom and social media messaging, most conversations and connections are taking place in the digital world. Our entertainment, hobbies, work and life have all been replaced with internet solutions. Social media has become our social life. This is a fundamental shift in human consumption.
Social media country
Within the digital world, there is social media country. Social media platforms are like countries. Social media platforms have more users than some countries have citizens. Just like countries have different cultures, laws and ways of running, social media is the same way. For example, when you first go onto TikTok, you may feel like a foreigner, because you’re not aware of the culture of the platform. There’s a bit of culture shock as you navigate the culture and subcultures within TikTok.
It can feel a bit like the Wild West when platforms aren’t properly governed, especially considering many members of the government don’t understand how social media countries work. You may recall the viral meme from last year, “Senator, we run ads” — in reference to Mark Zuckerberg explaining how free social media platforms make money to 85-year-old Senator Orrin Hatch. Learning a new platform, just like entering a new country, can feel like learning a new language.
Unlike Senator Hatch, the majority of people with access to the internet spend time within social media country — maybe even more so than they do in the physical world. Their attention is on what people are doing, and their life feels very passive. Content from creators is on display for users to consume and engage with an endless audience. It’s important to be a follower of a social media country before jumping into becoming a leader. This will help you to understand the ins and outs of the space to better set you up for success.
Entrepreneurs’ power in social media country
When you introduce a brand into this world, you are bringing this passive world to life by turning the experience from passive to highly interactive. This is the beauty and the power that entrepreneurs can have in social media country. There are no limits, as long as you understand the terrain and utilize the resources to your advantage.
For perspective, think about when you are on an airplane: You see physical land and all of the tiny houses and people that make it up. Whenever you look at a computer screen or explore a new social media platform, you’re getting a glimpse into the digital world. The more you consume, the faster you can see the big picture and understand the landscapes and all they contain in the digital world. Today, everything is powered by AI, and technology is growing at such an exponential rate that the world you see tomorrow will look vastly different than the world you saw yesterday.
Before the explosion of the digital world, our media attention was concentrated in the physical world, typically in the morning and evening. Companies would fight for limited time slots, and commercials were the ultimate advertising method to reach your target audience. Consumers turned on their televisions and consumed content when they woke up in the morning, as well as when they got home from work.
Now, content is available almost everywhere at any time throughout the day. Instead of people watching hours of television after school or work, they are spending that time consuming content on their smartphones or device. Within that same amount of time that they would have gotten through 3-4 shows, they can consume hundreds of short-form videos of content. This better keeps our attention and intrigues us to continue watching for more. This is why the demand for short-form videos (and content creation overall) is so high. Media moguls like Gary Vee are advising content marketers to post four times per day. That number sounds outrageous, but it’s because the demand is there.
The traditional scene of a family of four watching television has been replaced by everyone in their separate space engaging individually on their own device. TikTok, Youtube and other media platforms utilize AI to curate a personalized experience within the digital world. This helps you to discover new relevant content to consume with precision and ease, keeping you connected to the digital world.
It’s crazy to think this is only the beginning of society’s transformation. As we shift to the digital world, the demand for content continues to grow. Creators who demand attention are leading social media countries, transforming what power looks like in the physical world.