We are in the middle of a technological revolution that is changing business as we know it. Yet, as participants of this revolution, it’s difficult to grasp the magnitude of that change. So, let’s take a look at the technological advances that have occurred since this blog was launched back in July of 2007:
- Facebook had ~30 million users; today it has over 800 million
- Twitter had ~340 thousand users; today it has over 200 million
- Linkedin had ~12 million users, today it has over 100 million
- The iPhone was just 22 days old
- Tweetdeck and Foursquare didn’t even exist yet.
- There was no Amazon Kindle, iPad, or Android operating system
- And although Google hit a homerun with their YouTube acquisition, Google Wave came and went, Google Buzz is on its way out, and Google Plus is putting up a spunky fight.
Yet, although these technological advances have forever altered the playing field of business, why have only a few companies accepted them wholeheartedly into their business plans? I mean, it’s not for a shortage of opinions. The great game of social media has enjoyed an influx of new players over the past 50 months. They’ve blogged, tweeted, LinkedIn, checked-in, liked, commented, shared, and written books on every conceivable angle of the subject. Or have they?
The answer is no. The “social media for business” conversation has been co-opted by the communications-centric. If businesses are to enjoy the optimum benefits of these new technologies, executives must extend their social media gaze beyond public relations, marketing, and customer support to consider how significant advances in the digitization, distribution, and presentation of content also impacts the rest of their businesses.
It’s time to pry these new technologies from the stranglehold of professional communicators and free them to run amok within the organization. It’s time to introduce the concept of crowd-sourcing to research and development as demonstrated through services like as Innocentive. It’s time to determine how social media can impact finance through studying businesses such as Kickstarter. It’s time to consider the competitive advantages that companies may enjoy by joining the open source movement, from the well-known open source software, to the lesser-known open source hardware movement that brought us platforms such as Arduino. It’s time for companies to evaluate the Internet of Things, considering the business advantages offered through real-time data gathering services such as Pachube. And yes, let’s not forget communications. It’s time to shake them up a little by redistributing their budgets from boilerplate outbound activities to other innovative concepts, such as philanthrotizing, as demonstrated by programs such as Pepsi’s Refresh Everything and Kohl’s Cares.
The technologies are just waiting to be used. Advances in the digitization, distribution, and presentation of content offer benefits for all branches of the corporation. But in order to see them, we must break ourselves out of the zombie-like state of that we’ve fallen into. Social media isn’t just for professional communicators.
To be fair, I too have contributed to this communications-centric funk. A quick re-read of my very first RonAmok! post, New Media Hyperventilation, illustrates just how far my vision has become communications myopic.
“…everyone is working so hard to scoop the next person in finding the next big thing, that we aren’t taking time to master the last great thing.”
It’s important “…to not lose site of the goal of these new tools — for people to actually use ’em.”
So, it’s time to get back to my roots. It’s time to change the prescription on my business glasses. It’s time to start applying these technologies to tackle the really big problems faced by businesses, nonprofits, and society.
Are you with me?
Photo credit: Haglundc