The news of Groupon's $15 billion public offering inspired jubilation and hesitation in equal parts. Jubilation, because Groupon's IPO represents the emergence of social media as a mainstream, revenue-generating business. Hesitation, because just ten years ago, the tech world watched billions of dollars chase over-hyped and under-developed businesses, with the result being a catastrophic tech bubble that squashed the Nasdaq. How seriously should we take the rise of social media as a viable engine of the tech economy?
To get a better sense, I spoke with Beverly Macy, a technology writer and instructor whose recent book, The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing, teaches businesses how to harness the power of Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation:
Talk a bit about the rise of Groupon.
There's nothing new about coupons. But something changed when Groupon and its rival Living Social hit this combination of getting a deal and being with people.The next thing we'll see is a business-to-business group coupon. I see small business companies getting into deal, like buying office supplies and renting equipment together. And we should watch for Facebook to go into coupons.
What's next in the social media world? What's the next big idea that will take that world by storm?