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Facebook’s 500 million active users each share 90 pieces of content every month, including web links, news stories, blog posts, notes and photo albums. “The web is being rebuilt around people – shifting from the information web to the social web,” according to Facebook UK commercial director Stephen Haines.
And as consumers increasingly inhabit this space it gives marketers new means of addressing them individually, he adds. “The social web means that brands can put people at the centre of their marketing. In a world where people want to connect and share with the people in their lives, marketing is becoming more personalised.”
Cloud consumers are just as visible in the real world as on the internet. Along with keeping their content in the cloud, people are increasingly relinquishing physical ownership in order to pick and choose what they consume as it suits them.
Across all industries, cloud consumers have two key requirements. First, more flexibility. The alternatives to physical ownership usually involve the flexibility of renting more often, from a wider selection of options, and at a lower cost each time. In the fashion industry, for example, consumers can pick a new dress for every party and then return it to the cloud the next day.
In the automotive sector, services like Streetcar provide a vehicle parked just down the road that can be used at any time on a pay-as-you-go basis. For those who need to drive more often, meanwhile, manufacturers are offering loans that allow buyers to put off the majority of the purchase price, keep the car for a couple of years, then hand it back or trade it up.
The second key requirement is less responsibility. By choosing not to store things themselves, consumers pass on the risks and responsibilities of physical ownership. In cloud computing or the media industry, for example, this includes the risk of data loss from hard drives, and the need to transfer files onto new devices.
Consumers free themselves from similar risks in other industries. By not owning a car outright, for example, there is no risk of losing value when it comes to be sold. With a service like Streetcar, consumers are even released from the responsibilities of upkeep and running costs.