There are few guarantees in this world - death, taxes, night following day - but one of the greatest and surest guarantees, encompassing all others, is change. No matter how huge, how powerful, how entrenched something seems, things will change. Nothing will last forever.
This might sound depressing to some, but I think it's incredibly exciting. To think that no matter how important and integral to society something may seem, one day things will be completely different.
Technologies will emerge, fads will disappear, and society will move on.
The perfect example of this is television. At the end of the twentieth century, TV was fairly ubiquitous. True, not every home had one, but those were the outliers, the oddballs. If you met anyone, regardless of their social status, if they had a home and electricity, you could assume they had a TV. And you would probably be right.
It was like a super-weapon for marketers. A spot in primetime on the right station could be guaranteed an audience of millions. Repeat it a few times on a few different stations, and the entire country would know of your product. Or you could target a more local population using the network affiliates, and certain demographics through specific cable networks and shows.
Then high-speed internet came along, and with it came streaming services like Hulu, as well as less legitimate services like Bit Torrent. Around the same time, Tivo appeared, and cable companies introduced their own DVRs to compete. Now people are able to watch what they want whenever they want with little or no commercials.
What's more, there is no centralization. In addition to Hulu, people can go to the network website, Netflix, or any of several other services to watch a show. There is no one place where a marketer can put their ad and expect all the fans of a show to see it.
But there is another side to this coin. With the rise of high-speed internet came social media. Now there are over 1 billion people on Facebook. That's 1 out of every 7 people on the planet. If you're looking at just a first-world country like America, that ratio becomes closer to 1 out of every 2.
And with social media, brands can talk with their fans, know exactly who is buying their products and listening to their messages, and get instant feedback.
With television, the use of demographics was really just very educated guesswork. If you sold snowboards, your customers would probably be watching the winter X-games, so you would make sure you had a lot of ads during those games.
On social media, you can easily seek out the people near your store who are interested in snowboarding, and not waste your time on people who might be watching, but won't be buying.
Social media has all the reach that television once had, and far more power and flexibility than would have ever been possible with TV. Our world has changed. Social media is the new television.