Something very essential has changed in how we discover and share information on the web.
You remember the old marketing story that you need to plan your company’s growth as if you were throwing a stone to hit a speeding train at a trajectory in the future?
Not true nor possible any longer. We are the runaway train now and there are no tracks only breadcrumbs of ideas to guide us.
Web development platforms, distribution strategies, analytics and business models are constantly moving and making jumps to one side or another. Things are not in flux as much as they are growing in ways that no one can accurately forecast. We can surmise intelligently but the future is being created as we figure it out.
The day of the pundit and the grand expert is gone. Sure smart people can lay out the dots but there is no one right answer and there is no one opinion that connects and matters most of all.
And in the face of few undeniable truths, information and ideas and thoughtful opinions have never been more critical to figuring out what to do. The Yoda of today provide guidance and pockets of deep knowledge rather than complete answers and tightly held secrets.
Enter the real-time social web, communities of interest and the driving need forever expanding trusted networks.
Every day I wake up with some thought that demands discussion, be it around virtual currency or social data measurement or new way to discover an audience. And I reach out to find conversation threads that I can participate in and move to a decision or a better understanding. Conversations are the data points and content for new ideas and new ways to crop a thought so it becomes actionable.
Socialization is the fabric for a new kind of educational discourse that sits on top of dynamic connectors like Disqus and drives us towards blog communities of trusted friends. The curriculum is the banter we create around topics of interest. This process is inherently dynamic and reinvents itself continuously.
Authentic people, valued through their conversations and trusted because they are transparent and knowable in the real world are key to this. Hidden identities and unlinked personas are by definition not as valued. Socialization as a venue for community requires honesty and transparency. And I believe that this process makes folks both more civil and more unabashed, thus feeding the cycle of honest exchange.
Network growth is the offshoot of this process. The more you work to understand the kernels of ideas that drive growth, the more communities you search out, the more conversations with authenticated trusted friends you have and the more you become social and connected. And as well, the less isolated and more supported you become.
This process is quite remarkable and wonderful…but more importantly essential.
And this new reality leads to previously unheard of behaviors that really do work. Writing presentations and books live and collaboratively with your networks. The ideas of free (or Fremium) as channels for transaction. The reality that by sharing honestly, you are building a value chain for distributing your ideas and products. Many more are being created daily.
This process will not only continue but intensify. As ideas like social commerce take hold, tools for community and conversation will become even more dynamic and move to be as efficient on a mobile platform as at the desktop.
I already spend my days moving from laptop to mobile, moving from meetings, in and out of subways, and dinners with friends, following strings of conversations and thoughts and project updates. This is how I define work on a good day.
The unknowns will continue to surface and become more complex certainly. But there is a parallel development of social tools that make it possible for communities to continually iterate towards new conclusions just as the technology opens new frontiers.