The advent of transistor, computer, internet, mobile phones and social media led to a digital revolution. These digital technologies have changed the way humans communicate and do things, and the impact is huge.
Digital communications which involves the use of computers and mobile phones to communicate through the internet gives an individual the potential to reach more people, quicker and more directly than before.
This has given citizens, customers, or end-users as the case may be, as individuals more control, power and influence over issues that affects them. Digital revolution has eroded national borders and allows citizens to mobilize in new ways, and build bridges across geographical divides. It helps expose information that in the past could have more easily been suppressed by government or big organisations.
An individual can now sit in the comfort of a room and use a single #hashtag to mobilize mass support from all-over the world through the internet cutting out traditional communication medium like radio, television and print media outlets.
We saw digital revolution at work in the #bringbackourgirls campaign, which was run entirely on social media, and yet reached every continent. We also saw it in Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections where the social media controlled by individuals defeated well-funded government controlled NTA (Nigeria’s largest television network) and government supporting AIT (Nigeria’s largest private-owned television network) the country in the battle of propaganda.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WordPress, Blogger, Linkedin, Youtube, and more, have made it easy for anyone to report and share events as it happens, write and publisher article in the internet, make and broadcast movies and lot more with a mobile phone from anywhere, Traditional media no longer control information dissemination making them less powerful.
Digital revolution, as explained in Soft Power report by Portland Communications, a UK-based public relations agency, is moving power away from traditional institutions to individuals. Soft Power is the ability to encourage collaboration and build networks and relationships.
It is the influence created by building networks and communicating compelling narratives, as against Hard power which is the use of coercion. As Professor Joseph Nye, who first coined the phrase “soft power” 27 years ago said, “power with others can be more effective than power over others”.
Numerous individuals have been able to build networks and millions of followers on one or more different social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat which they can easily influence through positive attraction and persuasion.
This has made citizens powerful and they are very much aware. They have severally come together against governments. They have influenced national policies by mobilising hundreds of thousands of people to turn out to protest or sign petitions within a very short time.
Banks and governments often impede the free flow of business because of the time it takes to process transactions and regulatory requirements. Many Governments and powerful institutions use traditional financial system to coerce oppositions and control citizens. Banks have severally been accused by conspiracy theorist of having secret agenda and conspiring against the citizens of countries.
Blockchain, a digital technology and a new global economy of immediate value transfer is changing all that. In this new economy, intermediaries which are mainly big institutions no longer play a major role and a very large chunk of socio-economic control is transferred from traditional institutions to individuals.
This digital technology is driving a fundamental shift from the Internet of information, where we can instantly view, exchange and communicate information to the Internet of value, where we can instantly exchange assets. An economy where trust is established not by central intermediaries but through consensus and complex computer code.
Its has applications that go way beyond obvious things like digital currencies (e.g Bitcoin) and money transfers. From electronic voting, smart contracts and digitally recorded property assets to patient health records management and proof of ownership for digital content.
Blockchain will profoundly disrupt hundreds of industries that rely on intermediaries, including banking, finance, academia, real estate, insurance, legal, health care and the public sector — amongst many others.
While the large traditional media outlets are one-directional relationships, the internet connects large groups of people to a bidirectional network. The decreasing costs of technology; individuals now have access to technologies that were once only available to large companies (digital printing and acquisition technology, high performance computers, and powerful software).
This digital revolution has radically changed the way individuals and companies interact. Many businesses are now adopting C2B as a business model. This is a model in which consumers (individuals) create value and businesses consume that value.
In the C2B model, businesses profit from the willingness of consumers to name their own price or contribute data or marketing to the company, while consumers profit from flexibility, direct payment, or free or reduced-price products and services.
Social media has empowered consumers, as an individual with large number of social media followers with just a mobile phone can influence big businesses through reviews or endorsements with the effect being evident in few hours.
Before social media this could only be done by real famous people like Tv and sport stars, and it may take months before the effect become evident. Consumers (Individual) have never been this powerful before in the history of Consumer-business relationship.