Last week I had the opportunity to speak before two very different audiences. The first, The Silicon Valley Employers Forum, consisted of corporate benefits managers from 28 employers in Silicon Valley. The second group consisted of business VARs who sell hardware, software and professional services to the SMB marketplace. Although the audiences were vastly different, their collective reaction to the topic of Social Networking was identical:
- Both had heard of Social Networking and members could rattle off a list of Social Media tools and websites.
- Neither had a comfortable understanding of Social Networking and how to incorporate it into their businesses.
- Both groups were very eager to learn.
So, with so much talk about Social Networking occurring, why doesn’t Main Street business understand it yet? Because we in the Social Media fishbowl spend more time talking about the tools (aka. WordPress, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in) than what’s important: the fundamental changes that these tools are driving in human behavior. Social Networking is not rocket science; it’s Social Science.
Social Networking is about humans–business humans, customer humans, partner humans, investor humans–who now have the ability to communicate with one another on a much deeper level than at any other time in history. The concept isn’t new; we’ve belonged to Social Networks since the beginning of civilization. The only “new” part is that we can now do so online.
And until we can clearly articulate this distinction, Main Street will continue to be confused–unnecessarily.
Photo Credit: dizznan