The prosumer is the new consumer.
One of the key ideas that Futurist Alvin Toffler wrote about in his book, The Third Wave, which came out in 1980, was a revolutionary idea that he called the “Prosumer”. He said, “in the future, the role of producers and consumers would begin to blur and merge.” Toffler envisioned a post-Capitalist world where people were serving themselves and serving each other.
And isn’t this exactly what Linux and the entire open source software movement is? And isn’t Uber people helping other people? We can also see it in social media, where we post content and consume it as well. Additionally, “prosumer” can mean “product and brand advocate.” Rather than simply “consuming” products, people are becoming the voices of those products and significantly impacting the success or failure of companies, products, and brands, particularly through their involvement on the social web.
Of course, we can agree that businesses are no longer completely in control of their products, brands and messages. The consumer, or prosumer is now in control. Prosumers are the online influencers that business leaders and marketers must not just identify but also acknowledge, respect and develop relationships with in order for their products and brands to thrive. In fact, it’s so important and so significant a change from what we once had, that it really is a movement, a cultural shift.
What are your thoughts? Are YOU a prosumer?