The Democratisation of Information (and how it affects your profession)

There’s no doubt about it. The rise of information technologies and the Internet has brought with it many changes. We now feel closer and more connected to the wider world than we ever have before and today we have at our literal fingertips access to more information in our wirelessly connected smartphone in our pockets than the average world leader had access to 25 years ago.

Let’s face it, information is now cheap. In fact, in most cases information is now free! Want to learn another language? There’s a website for that. Maybe I’m having an argument with a friend on a Friday night about the best way to peel a banana, I’ll google it. If I’m troubleshooting a computer problem, I’ll find the answer in any number of online forums. Perhaps I’m desperate to work out how to fold a fitted sheet properly – easy, I’ll go to YouTube.

Information is no longer the currency of the academic, and no longer something that needs to be be filtered through experts or professionals. If I want to know something, I can usually find the answer I’m looking for online, and if not – then I’ll certainly find the right person to help me there.

So, how does this affect my profession?

As professionals, our value in business (and career) can often seem intrinsically linked with the niche knowledge that we have stored methodically in our heads. We make our living by sharing that information and expertise with our clients, essentially providing them with the answers they need when they go looking. But how, in this age of information democratisation where information is so freely available to anyone online, are professionals to position themselves in the marketplace and remain a valuable commodity for our communities?

I think, quite simply – the answer is to provide service, personality and authenticity along with all that valuable information and use digital tools to deliver this whenever possible and appropriate.  People ultimately want to connect with people and if you are the authentic, real person that they find as the source when they turn to online resources for information then you’ll be uniquely placed to build a lasting relationship with that person – and from there building an engaged client base is easy.

So, my question to you is; how are you providing valuable information in your marketing, whilst ensuring personality and authenticity?  Let me know in the comments below.

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