So far, the SAP Global Survey has interviewed many prominent bloggers including Scoble, Weinberger, Hugh MacLeod, Doc Searls and now, Ethan Bodnar. Who, you might rightfully ask, is Ethan Bodnar?
The answer is that he is the future of social media, him and the remainder of his generation. He is a 17 and a high school senior. I met him last week on FaceBook and we have been talking every since. I visited his blog and thought it was pretty cool and in our conversations, I came to realize how informed and immersed he was in social media and how it was already transforming his world into something far larger than mine was at his age.
Following is his interview for the SAP Global Survey:
1. How did you first become involved in social media?
I was first introduced to social media in a book store, where I saw a book on blogging. I didn't even look through it, just read the cover. That night I went home, Googled "blogs" and found some which I just started to read and explore.
Finally, I got around to starting a blog of my own and have been using social media ever since.
2. What social media do you use? How much time do you spend in social media each week? How many hours do you spend watching TV in the average week?
I read blogs, use social networks, take part in specific interest community websites, and share videos/photos/bookmarks through web applications.It's hard to say how much time I spend on social media each week. Probably around 21 hours a week which breaks down to 3 hours a day. Still that can vary a lot.
I would say that I watch around an 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours of television a day when all the shows have their full seasons going. (less in the summer) So , that comes out to around 10 hours of TV a week. About half of that is recorded so that I skip the commercials. This thus makes it more important how advertisers reach me online than how they reach me through traditional "old media" methods. Sometimes I will be working on the laptop at the same time as I watch TV or during commercials.
A good mix of social media and television is Current TV. You can submit short videos (based on specific topics or areas or programming) to be voted on by the community on their website. The videos with the best ranking or most votes are then played on the real broadcasted television channel. Unfortunately, my cable provider doesn't offer the channel.
3. How do you feel social media has changed your life so far?
It has connected to me to so many wonderful people from all around the world who are doing amazing things. (for the most part, people not my age) And has allowed me to share what I am doing with them. Without it , life would be completely different. I used to wish that I was around when computers were first coming out but now I am happy to be around when social media is really taking off.
On the other side, there are my friends that I go to school with and interact with in the real world. Interacting with them online takes away some things that could happen in the real world but it still keeps us all connected online, which is good.
4. Who or what influences you and your buying decisions?
I would say that blogs and all those people who write them have some influence on what I buy. I buy a lot of creative items such as t-shirts from and I have my eye on some stuff from Etsy and Coudal Partners Swap Meat project. Those websites offer products that are based a lot on the community behind them.
5. How could a business successfully use social media to influence you buying decisions?
No Flash Ads. No Banner ads. No pre-roll video ads. Make an awesome product and then find online communities that would like your product and become a member of that community. Allow the community to have conversations about your product or service and welcome the input.
6. You're a lot closer to the classroom than many of my readers. How do you think social media can be used to improve public school education?
In so many ways….
Social networks can be used to connect students in different parts of the world who are studying the same thing.
Students can use social media to collaborate online.
Education will move away from just the teaching of facts to a model where students start to be more creative and develop their own ideas and concepts. We will see students using social media to share these ideas of their own with others. Along with having a conversation about old ideas and their new ones.
Social media in the classroom allows students to see more examples of how what they are learning is used in the real world.
7. You've told me that you are interested in starting a business of your own. What would that business look like and what sort of role would social media play in it?
The business would hopefully combine design, technology, and the internet as the product or service that it would offer. As for social media, it would try to use it to reach it's customers and would use it for the employees own personal reasons as part of the office culture.
8. What if your first job out of college banned blogging and/or social media? How would that impact your working there?
If there was another job that didn't have those restrictions, I would quit the one that banned blogging and/or social media. And if it was the only job I could find, it would be pretty stressful. I would want to work at a place that had a office culture that accepted and used social media for their work and play.
9. What are your favorite social media tools and why?
I use these social media tools because of the great communities that are behind them, the people I know that use them, and how they are designed.
For photos…Flickr rules them all.
For videos…Vimeo is way better than YouTube.
For status and life-streaming…Twitter.
For social networks….Facebook is where my school's at. Virb pretty cool to.
10. Describe for me your vision of social media in your life five and ten years from now.
Five and ten years is a long time into the future. I would hope that the social media space becomes more organized and some of the sites better designed (nothing against what is out there now). I think we are going to see a lot more development in local community online. Right now there is much more based on interest and I think online networks of people from the same location will start to show up.
People will start "streaming their lives". There will be "streams"
which are really websites that will have a chronological list of what they have done through social media and real world status updates like Twitter. The best example would probably be Jeff Croft's Lifestream. This is some what of a movement away from blogging and takes less time than blogging while still having a strong online presence. Blogs are not going anywhere though.
I think we will start to see social media creating more real world interactions. Through mobile devices that can tell you the location of your friends. And linking those mobile devices to the networks you have already formed in applications and communities online. For example, the social cameras that Dave Winer has suggested. His ideas can also be applied to MP3 players, video cameras and other devices. The link between online social interactions and real life interactions will form.
11. Additional Comments?
Since SAP deals with enterprise applications I though I would throw in some thoughts dealing with that. Keep in mind I have never used any SAP software.
- Build social media into your customer relations and support applications.
- Build social media into internal applications so that employees
can communicate and interact with other employees, whether it be in the same office or another country.
- Build social media into your planning and strategy applications
so that people inside the company but outside of the department can make suggestions and be part of it.
If it wasn't for the social media I wouldn't be answering this survey.
I found Shel Israel on Facebook which caused me to re-discover his blog and then I found the SAP Survey. I look forward to watching the results as other people answer it and would like to thank Shel for the opportunity.