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Three thoughts on social media for 2010

Three thoughts on social media for 2010

The hype around social media continues unabated – business, marketing, government, NFPs; everyone is getting involved. But to my mind, we’re still somewhat missing the point. Making it a part of our lives in a way that avoids the hype and adds real benefit to our own lives and the lives of others will be the the real tipping point of the acceptance of social media in business and amongst those who are still cautious about its adoption or perceive no need for it in their lives.

Additionally, there’s a large part of the world that simply doesn’t share our echo chamber. In the developing world connectedness is critical, as we continue to see in the management of disasters around the world (as in this great presentation from BarCamp Canberra 2010 by Shoaib Burq showing the massive increase in data available about Port au Prince since the earthquake) and in the continuing emergence of mobile data driven innovation in SE Asia and Africa. But for these folks, iPhones, Nexus Ones and iPads are still part of a distant future. Even a decent desktop PC may not be a reality. Rather, a grey-screen Nokia phone may be their tool for connectedness. We must engage with them on their terms.

So, here are my three big ideas for social media in 2010, distilled into some quick thoughts

We are still a long way from social media use in business as a given. Large numbers of businesses altogether and many more people within businesses of all sorts do not understand social media and perceive no value for it in their lives, the lives of their staff or their work. Education, valid, real case studies rather than theory, governance, mentoring, support from leadership are all critical factors in its success and as practitioners and consultants, we must enable that by speaking the language of business.

The developing world is yet to discover social media in the way the developed world has. And they may not want to. We must engage with the developing world to enable connections to happen and create great social innovation where infrastructure and tools may not be a rich as we have.

There will always be people for whom social media is not a priority. We must find ways to engage with them on their terms and integrate it with the things we are doing.

So, in the spirit of my last post, what do we DO from here to progress these ideas and the actions that can make a difference from them?

Stephen Collins
trib@acidlabs.org
4 Comments
  • Nick Hodge
    Posted at 11:06h, 09 February Reply

    I am starting to think, and I am probably wrong, that “social media” will not work with current hierarchies and structures.

    This is especially so in large organisations, where top-down singularity of thought is paramount for perceived survival and existence.

    To buck the group-think of an organisation is risky: people can and have lost their jobs, their livelihood by sharing the what they personally perceive to be correct. The retaliation from the hierarchy reacts against the norm.

    There is too little permission to embrace anarchy in modern organisations to release the full potential for “social media”

    And I do not see large successful organisations: corporate, government, meta-government and spiritual; letting this happen.

    • Stephen Collins
      Posted at 11:09h, 09 February Reply

      Nick, deep indeed. And very much where my head is at too. Too much perception of power loss. Too much anarchy. Too much upsetting of the status quo.

      I still think we’re a long way from where all this can be just part of what we do. A very long way.

      On top of which, there are many bigger, more important problems to be resolved (despite what the marketing androids would have us believe).

  • Ric
    Posted at 21:32h, 09 February Reply

    I have a similar feeling that, as much as I would like to think differently, “Enterprise2.0” is still some way off, for all the reasons you mention. I think our time is better spent looking into smaller businesses/organisations and helping them out-compete the big guys 🙂 …. look out for some enterprise attention then.

  • Paul Roberts
    Posted at 15:45h, 10 February Reply

    Social media is so new and it remains mysterious to many. Blogging has been around for longer than social network sites, but many people don’t know much about blogging. I’m referring to the basics here – like not knowing how to track comment threads to a posting, or subscribing to a feed reader service to keep track of blogs of interest. Many would not have a clue about the reputation or influence of bloggers.

    A similar situation applies to social networking. It’s just not unusual to people to be put-off by the constaint stream of info over Twitter…they don’t know about tagging or lists, or that there’s TweetDeck or Seesmic and so on to help with the interface.

    There is a lot of fairly basic ignorance about social media, in no smalll measure due to a lack of experience. It’s not until you immerse yourself in the stream that you learn how to swim. So there is scope – plenty of scope – for social media “swiming coaches” to get to work. The best way to learn is by doing.

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