When people think of Main Street, many different things probably come to mind.
To illustrate this, look up “Main Street” in Wikipedia.
The current Wikipedia entry for Main Street starts off by saying, “Main Street is a generic phrase used to denote a primary retail street of a village, town or small city in many parts of the world. It is usually a focal point for shops and retailers in the central business district, and is most often used in reference to retailing and socializing.”
If you continue reading, you will find that Main Street can represent a “place of traditional values.”
It is also used in comparison with Wall Street, with Main Street representing “the interests of everyday people and small business owners,” and Wall Street “symbolizing the interests of large national corporations.”
Check out the Wikipedia entry for additional usages in American culture.
Main Street 2.0
As already mentioned, Main Street is used to represent the area of a town where people gather to shop and socialize with friends and neighbors. And when people socialize, this inevitably leads to the exchange of the latest town gossip.
However, as mentioned in the book “Gen Buy: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail” (affiliate link) by Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., and Jayne O’Donnell, “The Internet has made the world (especially Hollywood) everyone’s hometown. While our connection to each other in our geographic, non-virtual towns and cities has decreased, our access to the lives of celebrities has increased. And our forums for discussion have expanded way beyond the local restaurant and front porches to blogs, Twitters, and Facebook and People polls. So really, the folks who fill the pages of People feel like part of our community, and our gossip and interest in them is serving a purpose.”
In other words, the Internet is the new Main Street.
However, unlike Main Street in the terrestrial world, Web 2.0 has made it easier than ever for gossip to reach people all over the world.
Just think of the immense pressure that celebrities are under. If they make a fashion faux pas or have a particularly “interesting” night out on the town, it is nearly impossible for them to keep it a secret.
The rapid exchange of information that Web 2.0 allows us can also have an effect on your brand.
If a customer has a bad experience with your brand, there is nothing stopping them from letting other people know via podcasts, blog posts, social media sites, review sites, texting, and just about any other way people communicate with each other these days.
It’s not all bad, though. If you deliver a good product or service to your customers, chances are that the word will get out about that, too.
The takeaway from this blog post is that Web 2.0 has changed the way people communicate with each other. Therefore, it is extremely important that you monitor and participate in the discussions that are happening about your brand wherever your customers choose to communicate.
It’s an exciting time…
Welcome to the new Main Street!