Social’s second chance

For context, I believe the first chance was brand/marketing. That potential has pretty much been converted into a banal, mostly campaign oriented, traditional media (with better targeting thanks to various contexts) approach, though thankfully, we have do some rebel strongholds. I can clearly see this within the Big Shift construct – the third wave is about how organisations/institutions respond to knowledge and the flow of information, and what I see now is the typical marketing organisation conveniently converting social into a media framework that it seemingly understands and has worked with for a long while. The big boys – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – have all created advertising products that cater to this thinking. Viva la broadcast!

But I’d like to think that all is not lost. Social changed to social media when it approached brand in the same way its media predecessors did. I see this as a phase which will last until social media saturates itself and becomes just another standard media platform. That leads me to think – if each domain (HR, Product) treats social in the same piecemeal way, it is bound to fail across them all.  When this does happen, at least some organisations will realise that a larger structural change is afoot and the institutional response needs to be more strategic. “The Next Social Imperative” made me realise that social has been attempting to work on top of business processes, but it needs to work the other way to even begin this journey. (also, strongly reminded of Tac Anderson’s post in this context back in 2010!) The driver will be market dynamics but the good news for organisations is that many in the existing workforce have the potential to become navigators of this change.

How does the workforce systemically play a part? Stowe Boyd’s insightful “The Future of Work : 4 trends for 2014” has at least two trends (consumerisation of work and me-isation of productivity and performance) that clearly point to this shift and its harbingers. Consumer technologies (and more so, the philosophy behind them) and a different kind of workflow can actually make an organisation more consumer centric than the silo approach currently followed. Steven Sinofsky’s long but superb post on the theory and manifestation of this paradigm shift is a must read on this subject. A very interesting manifestation of this shift I saw recently is Zappos’ move towards holacracy – a comprehensive ‘operating system’ for organisational governance that focuses on purpose and accountability without a top-down, hierarchical management structure.

This could be the first step towards ‘social business’, and I’m thinking of social business as a platform. (a fantastic read on platforms) The organisation and its purpose would actually work as a platform to channelise and augment the connection between employees and consumers. This purpose would also convert a job into work than an employee is connected to, and on the other side, it would help the consumer get closer to a brand he believes in. This is also when epics happen. Social (and other) technologies would play enablers for a more fundamental change in the structure and nature of work, and allow organisations to harness data, connections and transactions towards a shared purpose. More a transition than a disruption. Different organisations, I think, would evolve differently – some would not evolve at all. This is more hope than anything else, but I do believe that social technology has it in itself to be transformational, and not just transactional.

until next time, back to a socialist, communist workforce 😉


Process pool..

“You’re such a hypocrite”, said D, as i drummed on the laptop impatiently willing the folder to open faster. Not getting the usual retort from me, she continued, “On one hand, you want to slow down life, and on the other hand, you want things to move real time fast” A valid point, but rather than hypocrisy, I’d prefer calling it a paradox. After all, who likes to be labeled a hypocrite? 😀  I wondered whether it is possible for the two to co-exist.

There’s another tangential constant running debate in the household. It is again related to time and time saving. It is also related to the one above because it is to do with processes. The impatience above is because I know the comp can do it faster, having seen it done before. So if it is a process, i believe it should run that way and that fast (if not faster) always. Yes, I realise that’s a simplistic way of looking at it, and there are variables involved, but yet.

Now this is something I carry outside the comp too. And so it is that when D is doing a chore, I immediately strive to enlighten her on the exact process to be followed for maximum efficiency. My logic is that if I have walked a certain path, and learned from it, I should bring her up to speed, so that she can build on it, rather than start from Step 1. D hates it, especially when I can remark that as a software professional, i can understand why she should absolutely abhor processes. Cheap thrill, you guessed! Meanwhile, it doesn’t help that sometimes D discovers more efficient means of doing the chores. I shall, of course, have my revenge soon, when I become a home maker and master that ancient mysterious art, that in spite of several examples to the contrary is still considered a playground dominated by women – cooking. :)

And its not just D, I inflict this behaviour on poor unsuspecting folk who appear on my chat window and want to discuss things I would be interested in. Thanks to the blogs, it sometimes turns out to be something I have written about, and so I immediately share a link. Its a way of sharing my perspectives before we discuss the matter. I look forward to a time when i can do it in real conversations too. A ‘Matrix’ like USB port in your head, so that i can feed in the knowledge, and you can say ‘I know Jujitsu’ and factor in my arguments when we discuss. I believe this will save us both time. But of course, I’ve been warned by quite a few people that its positively rude, so these days I politely manage to repeat what I have written earlier.

But now comes the clincher, I sometimes have a problem when someone does this to me. I irritably say “Let me do it myself/my way” and also add for good measure, “Don’t you have any respect for my subjective experience?”

No, its not erm, hypocrisy, I still think its a paradox, or perhaps two ends of a spectrum. On one hand, processes  help crunch time and on the other, the subjective experience is important, and perhaps might help discover better ways. The choice, I guess, depends on the situation, our interest, and our intent. Or does it run deeper and tell us how we want our life to be? As Morpheus said in a different context “..there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path”

until next time, don’t respond with links in comments!! :p