Hillary Clinton: Social media has fostered the 'participation age'

Summary:The former Secretary of State concluded that innovation is at the core of solving not only technology and marketing problems, but also "human problems that can only be addressed by habits of the heart."

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Credit: James Martin, CNET.

SAN FRANCISCO---Innovation isn’t vital for just keeping a business afloat in Silicon Valley but also reinforcing the economy nationwide.

That was one of the sentiments iterated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday while delivering the afternoon keynote address at Marketo’s customer conference in San Francisco.

A summit for digital marketing software might seem like an unexpected (if not offbase) location to find the former First Lady these days being that she is widely rumored to be launching a presidential bid for 2016 soon.

Nevertheless, Clinton explained over the course of less than half an hour how she sees marketing driving innovation and the role it plays in promoting both economic prosperity as well as diplomacy.

"Big data gives us the processing power and tools to analyze the mountains of data generated by life in the 21st century,” Clinton observed, citing McKinsey research that big data could unlock “hundreds of billions of dollars" for the United States GDP.

"Big data gives us the processing power and tools to analyze the mountains of data generated by life in the 21st century,” Clinton observed.

Clinton asserted she encouraged the implementation of social media during her years at the Department of State, methods that already seem commonplace today but were shrugged off as passing trends not long ago.

"Marketing had changed incredibly in recent years, and you have to stay on the cutting edge — however you define that,” Clinton said.

Highlighting Facebook and Twitter, Clinton argued that the use of social media demonstrates actual communication, versus stale methods such as simply sending out press releases or hosting press conferences. Thanks to these channels, Clinton posited that “we are in the midst of the participation age."

Clinton admitted she is "optimistic but also realistic" at the same time, posing the rhetorical question as to how to build upon the advantages promised by social media.

Her initial answer started with "reinventing the corporation — not just corporate social responsibility — but the concept of shared value.” Clinton championed “the way Marketo has worked with not only the private sector but also communities and non-profits worldwide."

While addressing the role of social media during the Arab Spring, and more recently in Ukraine, Clinton clarified that social media is a catalyst for action, but not a substitute for real life action. Rather, the two need to be synced up to work.

Clinton concluded that innovation is at the core of solving not only technology and marketing problems, but also "human problems that can only be addressed by habits of the heart."

Clinton remarked, "Social media has a transformative effect, but that can't be the end of the story."

Topics: Government : US, Apps, Big Data, Enterprise Software, Privacy

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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