The internet has brought countries closer and has merged different cultures into a single online culture. This is saying a lot, considering that 24% of the world’s population is online. What was seen before as an annoyance and a waste of time is a part of people’s daily lives now. It’s so entwined with our daily lives that it is difficult to imagine our lives without technology and the internet.
The internet has gone far from people who used to live in obscurity, just making false online personas into a basis for mainstream trends, a source of information, and a tool for bringing the world closer. This can be attributed to the fact that people from different ages, nationalities, backgrounds, and even gender are able to go online and ‘talk’ with each other. With this emerging trend for online culture, there are a couple of reasons why the online culture needs to be taken seriously.
Huge Business Market
With the 2 billion people (at least) online every single day, that’s a very huge potential market for any kind of business. Even if you’re selling pet food or offering professional services, the online culture is an untapped market for this. Success stories about small time businesses have been around for a long time – their success is largely attributed to the explosion of internet publicity and online trading.
Using technology, it’s also possible for business owners and customers to communicate with each other easily. Business owners can post promotions or hype up new products without spending too much, and the internet will ensure that coverage will be much wider than a physical advertisement can achieve. On the customers’ side, they can easily tell business owners what their experience with the business is. It’s very common for customers to ‘lecture’ business owners how their businesses should be run and how they can improve it. Taken with a grain of salt, this can be used to improve business in the future.
Another way business owners can use the online culture to their advantage is to show that they are human and investing in their business is a very good investment in a lot of levels. They could show their charity works, or even create a charity movement of their own. Aside from raising awareness, this is a very good method for getting new customers to sign up.
Long Distance Communication
One obvious advantage of using technological advancements is to use it to bridge people together. This time, we’re talking about meetings, telecommuting and working on joint projects across different continents and time zones. This would increase job effectiveness and also make outsourcing a feasible option. For instance, in the case of business process outsourcing, it’s much feasible for a company to outsource their customer service departments to developing countries where labor is cheaper and output quality is excellent.
On a more personal level, the online culture has also made long distance relationships possible. Gone are the days of waiting in front of the mail box for a handwritten letter from that special someone. With a few mouse clicks or a few taps on the phone, sending a personal message to your special someone is easy and can be done real-time. In this field, video calling or voice chat using a Wi-Fi network is heavily relied on. It really does seem that the world is now much closer thanks to the internet.
Spreading information over the internet has never been much easier than before. The wide coverage of online culture ensures that updates from other parts of the world happen within a few hours of the event. Reading about a riot in the eastern countries or about strange weather in western countries is possible without leaving your computer.
On the other hand, the ease in spreading information can also be abused by malicious online users. False rumors or news blown out of proportions are very common on the internet. Weeding through the newsfeeds can be very tedious and troublesome. However, if you’re not careful or vigilant about your news source it might be very misleading for you and you might mislead others. The dangers of misinformation are very high and very real for online culture.
For those interested in entertainment news and finding out the latest trends in fashion or showbiz, the online culture is the go-to place. Here people can easily view what is the hottest trend in major countries and they can even read fellow online users’ comments or suggestions. This is very useful when getting tips about what to wear for an upcoming event or when preparing for next season’s fashion. With regards to showbiz, reading juicy gossip about favorite (and infamous) celebrities is very easy and accessible.
On the internet, you are not required to use your real name or information (unless you willingly do so). On that note, it makes people more amicable to voicing out their concerns and their ideas without fear of ridicule (a little bit) and having to worry about real life harassment. This can be very advantageous when business owners and researchers can easily obtain information from the internet: the participants are very willing and can be honest without bias.
Again, there’s always a flip side with everything and this includes anonymity. People can easily pose as someone else and spread false information or harass someone in the cyber world. Cyber bullying has even gone far enough to drive their victims to the point of suicide. It seems that in online culture, people can use anonymity and do more harm than good.
Another advantage of tapping the potential of online culture is to use online stores to sell products or services. Creating a virtual store selling your products or services is much cheaper as compared to a physical store wherein the rent and utility bills could take quite a toll on your budget. In addition, that huge market we were talking about can easily access that store and purchase services within minutes.
In fact, a lot of online stores have opened up in the past few decades, with small businesses cashing in on the success rate. As we mentioned, the capital doesn’t need to be very high and business owners need to worry about a few things: hosting the website, delivery (for physical products), and online payments. However with the use of credit cards and online banking, paying over the internet has been easy and secure for customers. This leads to more shopping online than in the physical realm – meaning more room for success in online stores.
Whether you are a business entrepreneur or starting a small company, these reasons why online culture is important can’t be ignored easily. There are a lot of advantages to be gained if you take advantage of the online culture and use it to promote growth for your business. Keep in mind though, that there are also negative aspects regarding the online culture as we have pointed out which you should be aware of before relying heavily on it.