The changing face of

Social networking's growing influence on telecom providers

Telcos and social networks vying for "share of voice"

Social networking Web sites and services have become primary communication media for a new generation of digitally aware consumers, competing with traditional telecommunications (Telcos) for "share of voice." Driven by high broadband penetration, maturing "social software" and readily available, affordable Internet-enabled multimedia devices, these sites and services are making inroads with enthusiastic users and garnering the attention of advertisers, consumer product companies and enterprises that are using social media to reach their customers, build brand loyalty and communicate with geographically dispersed employees, suppliers and partners.

The widespread social networking phenomenon reflects shifts in two long-term communication trends: first, a shift in communications patterns from point-to-point, two-way conversations, to many-to-many, collaborative communications; and, second, a transition of control of the communications environment from Telcos to open Internet platform providers.

To compete effectively over the long term, Telcos will need to take bold, significant steps to embrace the emerging broader definition of communications. Doing nothing is an option few providers can afford.

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About the authors

  • Rob van den Dam

    Rob van den Dam

    Global Industry Leader - Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment, IBM Institute for Business Value

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