In a recent post Tom Pitney answered the question “Are Australians slow adaptors to new technologies?” with “Australian Businesses are generally slower than most US or European countries to evolve to social and technological change.”
As the answer to the question posed, I disagree. Australians are great at adopting new technologies. You only have to look at some of the stats and lists that are regularly published:
- Sydney is in the top 10 cities in the world by twitter usage which isn’t bad when you compare our population to London, LA or New York who out rank us.
- Not to be ignored are over 6 million users of Facebook in Australia.
- With well over 1 million professionals on LinkedIn, the Australian business community is well up to speed.
But if the question was about the uptake of social media by Australian businesses, I would still be hesitant about saying that we are lagging behind. You only have to look at the number of tweets telling us how to use twitter or the discussions that rage on blogs around the world about developing social media strategies to recruit, engage, sell or build brand.
When it comes to optimising social media for business use, we’re probably still somewhere between the ‘innovator’ and ‘early adopter’ phases globally? Although if you work in this space, its tough to imagine why we haven’t moved into ‘early majority’ as yet. But this is still the exciting time when there is room for experimentation when everyone is working out how best to optimise the social media for themselves. There have been some spectacular successes, Dell being the obvious example but don’t forget they only got started after being burnt, quite literally. The work Ubank are doing here in Australia is interesting too. There have obviously been some high profile flops like Witchery about 18 months ago but at least they were giving it a go. Obviously the most recent disaster was Toyota – even though it was in Australia that was a global brand.
Whilst businesses in Australia may be slightly more conservative, I think it unfair to say that everyone is slow. The local market forces here differ to the drivers in N America and Europe. Judging by the conversations I have with clients, there is a lot of activity and planning behind the scenes – for many they have an active listening policy as their first stage of engagement in social media.
As we move from the early adopter phase, I think it is very much a case of “watch this space”!