PreCommerce: How social media is changing business

Encyclopedia books

Ye not too olde fancy books, a.k.a. encyclopedias. Image courtesy of jdurham, Morguefile.

Once upon a time, there was a battery-free, user-friendly device known as a Book. This Book, along with other Books, lived in a place called a Library.

If one wanted to learn a fact, one visited the Library and searched for the Book to find the needed information. The Book could be found in different locations within the Library, and the wise, kind guardians known as Reference Librarians led you to the Book’s location so you could find the Book.

Occasionally, the Books got drunk on their own literary power and had delusions of grandeur. They called themselves “Encyclopedias”.

Now, the Books are still around at a Library, but it isn’t always necessary to sally forth to the Library to find facts. Our good online friends Google and Wikipedia, with the aid of their faithful smartphones, desktop computers, laptops and tablet computers, allow us to reach in mere seconds what it took a longer time to find.

I tried to remember the other day the last time I actually went to a bookshelf and looked up a fact in a book, and it’s been a very long time.

I’ve been reading a book by technology and media expert Bob Pearson, called PreCommerce: How Companies and Customers Are Transforming Business Together. I received a copy during my time at Digital East 2014’s digital marketing conference, and I’ve finally had the time to read it. It made me think about how much I use online sources and how things have altered so much (which is why I told the above story).

It’s a fascinating discussion of e-commerce and how it’s changed the business world. Consumers have more power than they ever did, thanks to the Internet and social media platforms. Wise companies monitor what’s being said about them online and react accordingly.

PreCommerce notes that we, as consumers, form our impressions of a company long before we ever decide to actively do business with them. We ask our online and real-life peers for information and recommendations, check out online reviews and investigate a company’s website and social media sites. If a company lives up its online promises, great, but if they don’t, we can tell the world on a global platform.

The book delves into how social media use varies among cultures, a topic that interests me as a marketer. Some aspects of social media are universal, such as the ability to communicate on a human-to-human level or to contribute to everyone’s general knowledge.

Different cultures, however, may use social media in different ways; what’s popular in one geographical area may not be so popular somewhere else. For example, French online users particularly love video and Brazilians prefer Orkut over Facebook, and it’s good for companies to know this information so that they know where their customers are discussing them online.

If you’re interested in e-commerce, business, social media or marketing, I recommend the book. It has a lot of helpful information worth knowing.

End note: One of the delights of using Twitter is the ability to reach out to authors directly and tell them how much you enjoyed their books. I did this with PreCommerce‘s author Bob Pearson, and he let me know that he saw my tweet. We’re now following each other, so I’m sure I’ll see more of his wisdom in the future. Nice.

Recently, IKEA created a very funny commercial about their Book-Book, also known as a catalogue. Check it out.




Filed under Social Media

12 responses to “PreCommerce: How social media is changing business

  1. Garry still prefers looking things up in reference books. It is faster for him. He knows the books, knows just where to look and sometimes, I admit, he can find something specific faster than I can — he doesn’t need to figure out what search term to use.

    And I have reference books for stuff that is not available elsewhere — mostly antique Chinese porcelain and antique dolls. Neither is accurately or easily available online. For those of us with specialized interests, not everything — even with all the Googling and Shmoogling in the world, is available online. Yet.

  2. I have purchased three book books in the past two months. hard copies of one book for my oldest son and daughter, and a book for me not available in Kindle form. Opened my book book yesterday and it felt good.

  3. Nothing can beat Wikipedia for referencing most topics. Scholars from all over the world contribute to this living encyclopedia. I myself have contributed to three historical items and know dozens of other contributors.

    • May I ask which ones you’ve done? I would love to see them.

      • If I can remember. One was a garden writer/botanist in the sixteenth century whose name begins with a G. He pioneered in plant identification and plant uses…herbal remedies (not Lineaus) and was a cohort of Francis ? A second is an early Italian scientist who pioneered in the history of human reproduction. His name starts with an M and is something like Malphigi…which may not be accurate. A fellow student wrote the article on The Transit of Venus, and it is very good. Remember these articles can be edited by any scholar in any part of the network, so one person is not responsible for the final article.

      • I’ll look them up on Wikipedia. Thanks, Dianne!

  4. In my current role I coordinate the activities at the Teaching and Learning Commons for the Faculty of Education. The room (here are some pictures taken just after it opened has a significant amount of electronic equipment but I was initially fearful that the users might get the wrong impression–that is, that I did not value books. I therefore requested two bookcases–you can see them empty in the pictures–and have been very careful to keep current book displayed there. One case contains a display for young readers and the others is more intended for those between 13-18 yrs. I keep it thematic. In September we focused on multimedia and so I ensured that all of the books were also available online through services such as BookFlix. We then moved through displays celebrating (1) fall, (2) Halloween (3) Remembrance Day and now, as you might expect Christmas around the world. The education students have embraced the idea I am happy to report.

  5. John Gerard…but don’t confuse him with the Jesuit with the same name. My Gerard wrote the Herbal in the sixteenth century. I see the article has been edited by someone in England who calls himself Chiswick Chap. I think the ‘editing’ is mostly in the form of adding links, however, as the article looks much as I remember…ha Ha.

    I found the Malphigi article too.


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