05.05.2014

Lubricating our Business with Social

On planet IT, SMAC is the biggest buzz of today. Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud – each one of these four megatrends have omni-meanings and bear various interpretations. For me, ‘Social’ is the most ambiguous of the magnificent four. I also admit, I am probably one of the last dinosaurs who have yet to fully embrace Social and I haven’t surrendered myself to full transparency. I confess to being an agnostic-by-design and therefore somewhat of a skeptic.. But I also understand that Social in the SMAC context is not really about me not being Social-savvy.

I’ve convinced myself to accept the undeniable potential of Social as a superpower in shaping mindsets and its capability to ignite global scale social epidemic. I can imagine how web-native Social can be the cause of “tipping points”, although Malcolm Gladwell had no reference of today’s social scene when writing his book carrying this title. Social can indeed tip global demand patterns, conceive mega-trends, change attitudes and impact values in unprecedented ways.

I have no evidence that my own blogs, my tweets, semi-active life on LinkedIn, occasional scoops on Whatsapp or any other form of web-social presence would have created any Social tremors to be registered on any Social seismograph. From a business standpoint I doubt these have generated any incremental cash-flow, new customers, new sales opportunities or any other added value to the business I represent. I can also be wrong – I just lack the optics to see what I have already achieved with Social.

Am I just resisting change or just blindly denying the power of Social – no! I just haven’t unlocked the full potential of Social and my ignorance (if any) has been subconscious. But I don’t have a good alibi either for not having embraced Social to the fullest. My bad.

Ville Tolvanen (Social-officially a recent friend of mine by definition of Facebook) released an excellent mind-spill which is unfortunately only in Finnish. His thesis is that open networked exchange (apparently even within the tight confines of the Finnish-speaking world) accelerates value-generation. Today’s most successful (or popular?) business evangelists, missionaries and thought-leaders salute openness as the new normal. Ville’s insight is that Social’s openness and transparency is The New Oil that lubricates company’s transmission enabling success. This Oil is just as indispensable as is the fossil-fuel of yesteryear. Thumbs up.

Businesses’ modern user-interface to markets, consumers, trends and behavior agents is Social. Today’s context of Social is much broader than mere information exchange or Facebook – when completely unchained it removes all thresholds of creativity, it empowers networks and individuals to openly cluster together. For as long as value increases. Social is fool-proof. There is no transfer cost to move away and the supply of Social is infinite.

There is an estimated 200+ million blogs worldwide. Many of these have transformed into super-hubs where likeminded people flock to contribute, learn, acknowledge, approve, debate and argue. Although this environment is virtual, it is very real. Businesses are given birth to, innovations are conceived, added-value is generated and good becomes better. If not, flocks migrate elsewhere.

So even if Social is somewhat ambiguous (to me), it is undeniably a super-power not to under estimate. Social’s openness and transparency is perhaps The New Oil. Perhaps it is time for me to start lubricating my business with Social-Oil.

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Mika Tanner

Bilot Alumni