There’s an attitude in Silicon Valley that social media is getting, well a bit tired. Soon, the idea goes, social will be integrated into business, and it will become an artifact of the oughts and teens, the years when people so quaintly thought that the idea of a business in conversation with its market was still revolutionary. (No, I’m not forgetting the Cluetrain Manifesto: they called it years ago.)
So, depending on how much of a purist you are, social media will be a decade old in a few years–ancient in technology terms. That’s usually a signal for the cool kids to flee the cafe in favor of some new, shinier disruption.
If anyone was wondering how interested people still are in this idea of social business, Social Media Week San Francisco was a pretty good indicator. I spoke at two events–at Adobe and SAP–and people turned up and stayed. They wanted to hear about marketing of course, but they also wanted to understand enablement–how to change the organization to support the ability to engage with customers and community. And, happily, they wanted to know about measurement; what’s possible, what’s coming.
The truth is that no matter how much thinking and writing and developing and launching we do in the technology world, we are still in the midst–and will be for some time–of massive transformation. Dave Gray nailed it in a talk he did (that I didn’t hear, but saw excerpted on Twitter this morning): “Companies are optimized for line of production versus line of interaction.” That’s beautifully put. Moving command-and-control to a networked culture is a big, big deal for business. It takes time, muscle and patience.
Here are my slides from the Adobe event. Michael Brito of Edelman and Tyler Altrup of EMC were kind enough to blog about my presentation at Adobe, and Forbes ran a post by Todd Wilms of SAP on the panel I spoke on there (that he moderated) with Shanee Ben-Zur of Nvidia and Petra Neiger of Cisco. All very different organizations with brilliant examples of making large-scale change work, within their particular organizational culture.
As always, I appreciate your point of view, so don’t be shy.