Today I present the third of five key consumers lessons to take away from the 2010s. You can find the previous two here and here. Ten years ago, a wave of demonstrations and protests in the Middle East reshaped our understanding of social media’s influence; the Arab Spring turned up the volume on debate about the advantages and dangers of social networking platforms that would intensify over the decade.

Lesson 3: Anxious consumers crave connection.

What changed: Sentiment and discourse around the largest social networking platforms. In 2010, Facebook had just overtaken Myspace to become the largest social networking site and was carefully watching a burgeoning Twitter. Although some consumers were registering concerns about personal data privacy and Facebook was embroiled in legal controversy, the latter was far less public than it is today. Facebook’s novelty was drawing consumer appeal, and social media fatigue wouldn’t become pandemic until the second half of the decade.

Here to stay: Consumer need for community — virtual or physical. Human beings are social animals who evolved to see themselves as part of a group. In the 2010s, the enormous reach of social media gave consumers unprecedented connection, but the rapid escalation of self-centered benefits and consumers’ eventual love/hate relationship with social media platforms leave consumers longing for affiliation. Now, marketers who craft group-targeted experiences will nourish age-old needs for community and identity.


The rapid expansion of social media means that consumers have unprecedented visibility into company practices, a shared resource to catalog their observations and experiences regarding brands, and the coordination to pressure companies to act in certain ways. Check back tomorrow to learn more about the implications for consumer expectations in lesson No. 4.