Who participates in globalization? Governments, which form alliances, open borders and support trade across countries? Multinational organizations, which open new subsidiaries abroad and employ people of different nationalities? Universities, which support international student exchange programs? Naturally, all of the above mentioned are active participants in the globalization process. Yet, the latest McKinsey publication highlights that also small businesses, freelancers and, basically, each individual can be actively constructing the global reality nowadays. How? By using digital media.
Liking your distant friends’ life events on Facebook, following and commenting on internationally known speakers on Twitter, or connecting to an international professional in your field of interest on LinkedIn, all of these examples may seem so mundane…yet, these are examples of global connections, which today are just literally a click away.
New research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has looked into the extent and economic impact of global digital connections. The data shows that around 900 million people have at least one international connection on social-media platforms, more than 12 percent of Facebook friendships are cross-border friendships, and half of the active Facebook users have at least one cross-border friend, which is a threefold increase from 2014. Moreover, MGI found that users from emerging economies have more cross-border friendships than users from developed economies, which creates good prospects for faster development for the former.
Although the majority of social networks can be seen as places for personal ties and friendships, such as keeping in touch with university buddies and following up on the life of your relatives abroad, the MGI report argues that there are important economic implications to such global platforms as well. It is quite clear that for businesses social platforms serve as bottomless pools of potential clients, who can get both, direct marketing materials, as well as positive referrals and indirect support from already existing clients. In essence, every picture, tag or post from a restaurant, entertainment location or travel destination would serve as a promotion for the respective business. The amount of LIKEs is a social proof that influences people’s decisions, including purchase decisions. Given this notion, it comes as no surprise that the number of small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) with pages in social platforms grows at high rates.
As for non-entrepreneurial individuals, they obviously benefit from social-media platforms as well. Borderless mobility of information and ideas are of great value, as it creates many possibilities for development and education. Moreover, nowadays, a social media profile serves a similar purpose as a resume, yet, has even broader scale. A social media profile allows you to showcase talents, knowledge and public recognition to potential employers.
As such, signing in to any social-media platform today is a way of tapping into the global market, in which everyone can (at least potentially) be big enough to get noticed and reach out to people, knowledge or products everywhere, from places around the corner to places across the oceans.