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Whether we realize it or not, the one, single trend that ALL marketers are obsessing over is how quickly and effectively we can “change” human behavior.

No matter how hard Facebook tries, no matter how much of a genius Zuckerberg is, they can’t magically retrain users see Facebook as a shopping channel. That’s why they’re having major growing pains with f-commerce… There’s no refresh button inside of their users’ brains.

Google is facing a similar problem. It can get users to sign up for Google+, but it can’t train them to actually use it.

Imagine if Amazon launched a Twitter-esque micro blogging network tomorrow… would you actually use it? Probably not, right?

Established media channels their own organic identities. Even with Google or Facebook’s resources, they can’t actually change these identities overnight. It happens gradually… sometimes way too gradually.

For example, email has long been the marketing channel through which we receive shopping offers and purchasing information. Some gurus predicted that email would disappear as social media continued to grow… BUT it hasn’t happened. NOT AT ALL.

Instead, email has only become more important, as both a marketing vehicle and a go-between that alerts you about social media happenings. According to the awesome infographic below (hat tip eConsultancy), 73.4% of US mobile users received alert emails from Facebook in 2011… that’s a TON.

In fact, as a marketer, one of your major social media goals is to collect opt-ins. It’s kinda of funny, really.

Even though social media is incredibly addictive, and we’ve become extremely comfortable on these platforms — they still depend heavily on email for their monetization strategies. Just look at the graphic below and you can see just how critical email is to social media strategy for the foreseeable future…

Channels are slow to change because people like comfort and familiarity. Look, I’m right there with you. I’d rather get a receipt emailed to me than sent via Twitter or Facebook. Email is just comfortable.

That’s why its so interesting to watch a new social network like Pinterest thrive and drive revenues — right out of the gate.

The fact that Pinterest started with a blank slate has given them a HUGE advantage. As a social platform, it’s building engagement and driving shopping behaviors in a way that Facebook or Twitter could only dream of.

It’s a good thing to remember, not just in how you use online marketing channels, but for your own business. You train your customers/users on what they can expect from you from day one… changing it can be a slow and sometimes painful process.

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