I have noticed that for some Guyanese Facebook is slowly morphing into a something of an interesting combination of Craig’s List and EBay. Guyanese are increasingly using Facebook to market everything from iPhones to parties. And so too are other Caribbean folks as well.
Among my FB friends is a young lady in Trinidad who advertises clothes, shoes, handbags and designer cell phones on her FB wall and album for sale. The business seems to be thriving as she regularly announces ‘new stock’.
A photographer I met recently in Tortola is using his FB account to promote his photography business. He lists services, packages and rates, along, of course, with sample photos (mostly of eye-pleasing models). If I have photography needs in Tortola I’d hardly want to use anyone else, though I might haggle a bit over price.
Over in St Lucia one guy is using FB to hawk just about every model of mobile phone there is. The St Lucians and Bajans advertise parties and events on Facebook as a matter of routine. And while I have not seen it myself I suspect that it is no different in many of the other islands, particularly Trinidad and Jamaica.
I’ve seen deals on just about every model of Blackberries advertised on Facebook by one particular dude (Guyanese operating out of the US) who also offers iPods and iPhones at competitive prices (though Digicel Guyana’s $50,000 Gemini is quite unbeatable).
And if a promoter is having a party in Guyana and they do not have a Facebook presence then it just is not worth going to in the minds of some folks.
Social media is breaking convention even in Guyana (which, traditionally, has been late to catch on) to the point where some parties are almost exclusively ‘advertised’ on Facebook without any ads in the mainstream media. The truth is though that the Guyanese crowd has been late in using FB for these purposes as party promotion in particular (especially underground parties) has been exploiting Facebook for the better part of 2, maybe even 3, years.
What all of this means of course is that the costs of promoters and living room business people are much less. They have a direct means of reaching thousands of people with just a few mouse clicks and taps of a keyboard. Television, radio and newspapers will soon begin to pay keen attention if they have not already because advertising dollars which previously went to them is being withheld by promoters and these living room business folks. The mainstream media is displaying a usual arrogance towards new media but once it starts to bite them in the pocket you bet they will change their tune. It’s not biting them hot and often enough just yet but give it a few months more and they – like Collie Buddz – will come around.
Good to see that we’re getting there. Hope to see other areas catch up as well. Many folks are no beginning to discover Twitter and are still largely confused by it. Once they understand the power and penetration of it that too will revolutionize how things are sold and events are promoted. Like everything else in these parts, just give it some time.