Julius Duncan, Marketing Director – Headstream, and Project Director – Social Brands 100
Julius has been leading the communication industry’s thinking on social media for the past six years. Since co-founding social specialist Headstream in 2006 he has influenced the development of social media from its early status as an experimental arm of ‘digital PR’, to the enterprise changing discipline it is today.
As well as looking after Headstream’s own marketing and content strategies he is the Project Director for Social Brands 100, the leading annual ranking of social media performance. He is also a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s ‘Social Media Steering Group’, where he focuses on establishing best practice guidelines, and introducing better ROI measurement for social media.
Prior to Headstream Julius has held directorship positions at integrated marketing agency Five By Five, and financial communications agency Finsbury. He got the communications and digital bug as a business journalist for Financial Times newswires and television in the first dotcom boom of the 1990s. He can be found on Twitter @juliusduncan
In what ways are digital technologies transforming our lives?
There are the obvious and easy to spot effects. Tablet and smart-phone adoption allows internet access on the move with implications for how we travel, shop, socialise, and interact. The digitisation of money means contactless payments are here, and cash-free systems will become the norm in the near future. Entertainment is no longer prescribed and sold in physical formats, we can time shift our TV viewing through Personal Video Recorders like Tivo, and easily access and share sound and video files wherever there is an internet connection.
Potentially more significant are the effects of the digital layer of data that is being built up around human society all the time via every online interaction. By making sense of this collective ‘big data’ we will be able to identify trends and insights that create meaningful breakthroughs in public health, medicine, climatology, in fact any significant challenge faced by humankind.
What can the latest technologies do for you?
Open source technologies and the internet continue to shift power from the few to the many. Now everyone can be a publisher, access a global audience, and activate that audience with the right message. Products that previously required large-scale investment to build and distribute e.g. newspapers, computer games, can now reach massive scale without huge budgets and resource e.g. Huffington Post, Angry Birds. The world is out there, waiting for the next valuable idea, it could be yours.
If you’re not online are you out of the game?
Firstly, let’s make a distinction between affluent countries with high internet penetration, and those without substantial numbers of internet users. In those connected countries you are definitely playing the game with one hand tied behind your back if you aren’t online. The information, access and network potential that online provides can benefit any individual, business or organisation. In the second case it is those that can access the internet first who will benefit the most, and it will most likely be mobile rather than fixed line telecom which provides that connectivity.