I have lost count of the number of times I have been in meetings where I have been introduced to junior staff as “the troops” (the implication being that their bosses are then, generals). The marketing strategy then has been referred to as “our plan of attack”, the competition as “the enemy” and the marketplace as “the arena”.
When the Secretary of State sends you a letter turning down your suggestion that she might star in your sitcom you know you have some ratings pulling power. How one of the most powerful people on the planet happened to be a trending topic on Twitter is a tale of the sort we come across only in the social media era.
In 1811, in Nottingham, England, a social movement was born that was to lend its name to every reactive response to technology. The Luddites, named after a folkloric figure named Ned Ludd who may have had some basis in fact, formed reactionary groups the aims of which were to turn back the clock and get rid of the Spinning Jenny which, they felt, was responsible for putting skilled weavers out of business.
Social media is more than just Tweeting, or meeting up on Facebook and posting a few ‘wow’s!’ or even going on to Google Plus and engaging with some thought leaders. The true value of a world connected over the web lies in the ability to access information which has real value. And nothing ads value to information more than an educational setting.
Frequently, we are so blinded by our perception of what something is that we fail to appreciate its mechanics. Google we see as a mighty search engine indexing the world’s information, Facebook as the world’s favourite social network, Twitter as the short-message, public broadcast channel of choice.
You have to admit that the possibility that Facebook might buy BING would have seemed a more likely possibility two weeks ago than Instagram going for a cool $1 billion.
I usually write about social media’s disruptive influence on business or communications but like everything we do there is a darker side which deals with its ability to disrupt our idea of beauty and create unrealistically high expectations.
When I was in corporatedom I felt like an outsider. I was a journalist, with a journalist’s inborn suspicion of suits and their dictates, suddenly speaking at meetings and being heard and charged with helping create openness in organizations which were more comfortable with everything done behind closed doors.
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