Social networking et al

Ron Shelvin has a great post initiated by Tim McAlpine (with comments). I commented on the entry and wanted to expand on it here.

First some clarity. Being cognisant of the person behind the message and that further communication is usually necessary will keep a clear focus on the value of social networking. Whether this takes further entries (such as this) a telephone call or a personal visit it depends on the message and the circumstance. A quick example.

Attending Gnomedex a few years ago and recent NorthernVoices you realize a true advantage of where the cutting edge is going. A keynote or seminar is presented and while the presentation is happening Flickr is being uploaded with pictures, blogs are being posted to, wikis are updated and the electronic interaction is almost overwhelming. All of these entries contribute to the presentation. Everyone has their laptop open and the bandwith is phenomenal. You can begin to see who the person is behind the name tag and it is a unique experience. This social networking has now expanded with YouTube and Twitter etc. and I daresay is only the beginning.

Maybe I should have said human networking instead of social networking but I didn’t want to divorce one from the other. Senior execs need to be challenged, big time. Remember ‘customer relationship management’ and what that has come to mean or MIS, ‘management information systems’? Ron is right — we do need to take some of the confusion out of the term. Social networking as it applies to technology is a great unknown by most and that is really too bad because by beginning to use it, by taking advantage of it, we as credit unions, which is the credit union members, can begin to re-create what financial service is.

So what will this collective communication bring us? The power to listen and listen better. One of the problems with listening is that it does take time. Relationships are created by human interaction. One universal concern we need to listen to is what people think about line ups. They hate them. Everybody hates them. They waste time. People don’t want to converse with anyone when they have been standing in line for 10 minutes waiting. They now want to get the business done and move on. If they didn’t have to wait they would spend those few extra found minutes talking and we could then explore those needs and wishes that would seed innovation. But some executive think success is measured by the length of the line up. “We must be busy, great! Just look at that lineup.” Social networking will put concerns like this right in front of us for all to see. The challenge is what are we going to do with them? Will be act, re-act or ignore?

Those that have attempted to build their organizations on vision and values will readily embrace these challenges social networking offers. Those that don’t need to maybe do something else. Something happened with Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 and Ron, Tim and William have got it. What about the others?

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is discussed in a recent Atlantic Monthly article – “The Web 2.0 Bubble” by Michael Hirschorn. He talks at length about MySpace and Facebook and tends to make the statement that Web 2.0 = social networking. Sure the big guys are trying to grab a piece of the Web 2.0 hype but probably for all the wrong reasons. Networks and links, groups and friends, exist because we are social animals, plain and simple, and when technology allows us to do this easily and without taking public transit then we will avail ourselves of the gift. It is not a bubble just another evolution of what is happening on the web.

The key question is what is it moving into? Where is this taking us this time? There are endless resources now available that take a huge amount of time to just keep up with. Techcrunch for example. This is a great site that keeps volumes of information available to view what is being released. The complexity of what is offerred continues to be amazing. What we thought impossible 10 years ago is a reality. But is seems that everyone is racing to get the magic app on the web. They want to be the next Flickr, Technorati, or Is this that what the churn is about? To get an app ready for the big sale? Probably, but in the meantime we mere mortals are awash in a techcircus that delivers entertainment and awe to those that remember lesser days.