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We are now living in an age of rapid change, including in the way we conduct ourselves, with our friends and families. All of this impacts business and advertising. A while back one of my mentors spoke about the “Follow me” generation.

The “follow me” generation refers to the fact that whereas in the past you may have gone to high school or college with someone, or work and then lose track of them this is less likely now (unless you consciously wish to) and keeping in touch is made far easier with social media such as facebook and twitter.

This is in comparison to the past where years if not whole decades could be spent without seeing old high school, university or even work friends, colleagues or so-called “friends” (e.g. those whom you would prefer not to see but can’t actually avoid or blank) which would often be done in the form of a school or college reunion and so on.

There would be “yearbooks” in which photos of students of that year would be compiled in to one book. Some would even look at these photos, reminisce, engage in nostalgia (or perhaps not, as not all memories were pleasant) and possibly even wonder what ever happened to those faces which they could see in their year book. However something happened which made those faces in their year book less mysterious, a yearbook became replaced with “facebook”, enabling people to keep in touch far more easily and effectively.

The following video has yearbook pictures of Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Beyonce, Ben Stiller, Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera, Demi Moore, Eminem, George Clooney, Gywneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Hilary Clinton, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Stefania Germanotta (Lady Gaga), Leonardo di Caprio, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Will Smith and many other celebrities.

Year book photos of famous celebrities.

Source: http://www.awesomeblogisawesome.com/2011/07/hilarious-celebrity-yearbook-photos/

Now however a student of 14 will add friends to his facebook and keep in regular contact and know at the very least general details about his life, and most of us will know things such as if a person has got married or moved to another a country. The amount of detail that people give on facebook varies with some people having literally thousands of pictures of them and their friends on their accounts to those who only provide basic information and even those who are virtually non-active.

Some people do not believe in facebook or social media which is completely fine as it is their personal preference. The wider social reality is that the “follow me” generation has emerged and this has an impact on marketing and advertising, with people influenced by what they see and hear their friends do and buy. This is also part of a bigger overall process of increased communication, making the world smaller, the “global village” as if it were, a phrase used much more often a few years back. From now on the world may not be the same again, the “follow me” generation may become a permanent reality for those who chose to be part of it, and being able to influence one particular person may have an impact on their several, or dozen, or tens, or hundreds, or even thousands of followers on facebook and twitter. Celebrity endorsements have shown to be a very potent form of marketing and in this day and age when ordinary people can become “mini-celebrities” online in their own social circle or beyond their endorsements have far more power than before when they could only communicate one to one in person or over the phone, or a dozen people in a social gathering. The follow me generation has arrived.

– Jahan Choudhry

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