In a conversation with my ITA colleagues (we keep a Skype channel open and conversations emerge daily), we revisited the idea that there’s a higher perspective that needs to be highlighted: social media is a business engine, both internally and externally! Jane Hart’s been helping clients with social media marketing, and this has been an entree to talk about social media for working and learning.
The point here is that conversations are the engine of business. (I mean conversations in the broad sense of discussions, collaborations, partnerships, productive friction, and more.) We converse, therefore we work. Just as, internally, innovation, research, new products etc are the results of interaction, so to are the external aspects of business. Market research is listening to customers, branding is conversations about value propositions, negotiations with partners and suppliers, RFPs, it’s all communication. And, the Cluetrain Manifesto has let us know that with the internet and more open information, we can’t control the conversation, we have to be authentic and engage in open communication.
So if we move up a level, we recognize that both internally and externally, to succeed we need to facilitate conversations. We need a social media infrastructure that allows stakeholders internally and externally to negotiate mutual goals and collaborate to achieve them. The successful organization needs to fundamentally rewire itself into a wirearchy. He who communicates best, wins.
Communication is fundamental to human nature; we’ve developed the ability to accelerate our adaptation to the environment by communication. We’ve moved from evolution to invention. We interact, therefore we are. I’ve largely been focused on internal dialog, but it’s clear that from an executive perspective, you need to realize that communication is fundamental, and social media is another technology lever to move the earth. We’ve been doing it with the phone and email, but there are so many more powerful tools to augment those now. We moved from the buggy to the automobile, and we can (and should) move from email to a rich social media environment. If we want competitive advantage, at any rate. And you do, don’t you?