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I was a couple years late to the party, but last winter I joined the 9 million-plus people who’ve watched the YouTube classic, “Cat in a Shark Costume Chases a Duck While Riding a Roomba.”

The title is pretty much self-explanatory.

But after I finished watching (and laughing), what I was really interested in was getting myself a Roomba.

The little robotic vacuum cleaners have been around for more than a decade now, but after some Googling I discovered that recent models have taken things to a whole new level: scheduling, wireless integration, advanced “dirt detection,” etc. I had to have one.

What followed was an unintentional crash course in the potential (and pitfalls) of shopping and customer service in the social media era.


It’s no longer news that social media is everywhere.

The average user logs in for nearly 1.7 hours every day, or 12 hours a week, according to GlobalWebIndex. By some accounts, millennials watch more YouTube than TV.What’s easy to miss . . . is how fundamentally social media has already changed how we spend not just our time but our money.

But what’s easy to miss—at least from inside big companies—is how fundamentally social media has already changed how we spend not just our time but our money. While we’ve been busy watching cat videos, social platforms have quietly turned nearly every aspect of customer experience on its head.The way people learn about products, evaluate them, buy them, and interact with companies are being mediated today by social media. Nor are businesses themselves, for the most part, driving this shift; much of the time, they’re catching up to it. It’s one thing to see the stats on this digital transformation (and there are plenty), but it’s another to experience it firsthand when you least expect it—like when you’re shopping for a Roomba.

Now, I’m an early adopter when it comes to technology, and I live and breathe social media at Hootsuite.

But for businesses that are just testing the social media waters, my little Roomba saga may shed some light on how Twitter, Facebook, and other networks are quietly and radically reshaping the timeless march long known as the customer journey.

To be clear, I’m definitely not a paid Roomba spokesperson, and this shift applies to far more than just robotic vacuums.

After I had my fill of cats-on-Roombas YouTube videos (turns out this is a whole genre), I got down to the business of picking out my model. Whereas in the distant past this would have involved going down to an electronics store or, in the more recent past, plowing my way through CNET reviews, in this instance I headed over to Twitter and asked my followers if anyone had a Roomba they really loved.Sixty-seven percent of consumers now tap networks like Twitter and Facebook for customer service. And 60% of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour.

Read all How Social Media Is Quietly (Yet Radically) Changing The Way We Buy Stuff | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

My point of view:

I always get annoyed because this is not about social media but about platforms as Google, Facebook and Amazon. For me, this post outlines the motives about the platform owners and their business model.

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