Trends on the Social Front


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A presentation for the 2013 Academic and Career Development FOOD Group meeting in Atlanta.

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  • So I’m reading this book called “Linchpin,” by a genius named Seth Godin. How many of you have read it?You all know Seth?Seth, of course, invented the Internet … and thought of everything before anybody else … and basically is here to make us feel worthless, then kick our butts and turn us into better people. That’s just what he does, and he’s good at it.Anyway, in “Linchpin,” he talks about how to become indispensable. It basically comes down to this:-- Ditch the rules and follow your heart. AND …-- Do work that inspires you AND others. Pretty cool idea. And if you want to know more about it, read the book.
  • So anyway, I’m reading this book. And on page 161, Seth starts talking about something called “the circles of gift giving.”See, Seth believes in giving stuff away – giving away our knowledge, giving away resources, adding value to other people’s lives and not expecting anything in return. That’s how we become indispensable.Pretty radical idea. It flies in the face of everything that capitalism stands for. Right? We’re here to make money. Produce something, sell it, repeat.The classic business model that me and you and our parents and grandparents grew up with was all about product and profit. Right? Make something and sell it for more. People were merely cogs in the machine that produced the stuff we sold.Here’s the thing, though. That business model? It’s obsolete. It’s been obsolete for probably 5 years. The rules have changed.We’re now living in an era in which people are at the center of everything we do. Tom Hood likes to say we’ve moved away from an era of command-and-control to one of communicate-and-collaborate. Doing that means building communities and relationships, and that takes people, it takes trust, it takes a commitment to serving others, not just making money. People first.
  • OK, so back to Seth’s circles of gift giving. There are three of them:The first is a circle of true gifts – stuff we willingly share with others, most often friends, family and co-workers. Someone asks for advice for a good hotel in the area. You give that knowledge away. You invite a friend over and give her a meal. You don’t charge her for it.The second is a circle of commerce – people in this circle are willing to pay you for what you produce – your consulting services, your financial advice, the book you wrote, the widget you made.Those two circles have been with us for ever.Now, the Internet has given us a third circle, and it’s kind of a combination of the first two. It consists of people who might one day pay you for what you do – but to get to that point they first need to know you and trust you and be comfortable interacting with you. These are our social networks, the folks we follow online.Here’s a quote:“Generosity generates income.”
  • That’s an entirely new business model, and it’s one that almost NO ONE is following yet.And how do I know that? It all goes back to social media.One of the biggest complaints I hear about social media is, “Where’s the ROI? How come we’re not making any money on this stuff? This is worthless – I’ve been on Twitter for a week and nobody’s bought anything yet.”Social media is that third circle. We’re not supposed to sell anything there. That’s where we give away stuff. Share what we know. Add value to people’s lives. Build trust, and credibility, and relationships. Then, maybe we start to move some folks over to the second circle.But ROI? There is no ROI in social media. Not if you do it right.If you do it right, you become less of a production machine and more human.
  • There’s another new book out now called “Humanize.” It’s by a couple of association folks named Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant. They argue that the reason so many businesses are struggling with social media is that they’re trying to bolt it onto obsolete business models.The problem isn’t social media, they say. The problem is that our own organizations are outdated and need to become more human, more people-centric.
  • The point is this: If we don’t focus on serving people and solving problems – if we don’t put other people’s needs ahead of our own – we are doomed to fail. The irony is, the more we give away, the more we’ll make in return.That’s the business model for this brave new social world.And that’s more than our challenge. It should be our aspiration.Social media takes what we do and makes it human:When I go to an AICPA conference or an event like this and I check in on Foursquare, it’s more than just a game: It reminds our members that we’re out there advocating for them.It’s that old question: What can we do to make this stuff more real, more human, more personal? Jeff De Cagna, a consultant to the association world, says that’s a question we need to ALWAYS be asking: How can we make everything we do more social?
  • So let’s talk about what’s happening today that makes this conversation worth having.It all boils down to one word – Change.Always had change, but rate of change is intense today.-- legislative / regulatory changes. Makes SOX look like a walk in the park.-- demographic shifts. 4 generations in the workplace.-- that leads to all kinds of leadership shifts and succession issues.-- biggest of all, technology shifts. Moore’s Law – processing speeds, or overall processing power, for computers doubles every 18 months or so.-- Aspen Intitute rate of change: As it relates to science and technology, the rate of change in the next decade is likely to be 4 to 7 times faster than in the previous decade. If it is 4 times faster, it would be like planning for today in 1890. If it is 7 times faster, it would be like planning for today in 1670.
  • It’s a different world, folks.Social media is helping us do all of that.
  • How do we stay on top of all of that change?My boss, Tom Hood, likes to put it this way:In an era of constant change, the most important skill we possess today is the ability to learn new skills.This is Tom’s formula: L > C. “To keep pace in your industry, let alone as a leader, requires your rate of LEARNING to be greater than, or equal to, the rate of change.Social media helps us do that.
  • Here’s why: I know of no other recent development that has had a greater impact on information consumption than Twitter. Consider:Information: And I’m not talking about content. I’m talking about content that matters to you. That old cliché “Content is King?” Wrong. Today, as Steven Rosenbaum says, “Content curation is king.” Twitter does that for you.Citizen journalism.Customer service. Typepad example.Communication / collaboration. That includes everything from informing the masses to networking to relationship-building to marketing.
  • The answer is to be ever learning. And almost all learning is social. It’s informal. And that’s where social media comes into play. It has ushered in a new era that Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner call “The New Social Learning.”Tony and Marcia will tell you that nearly all learning is social in nature. In other words, most of what we learn on a day-to-day basis is stuff that we learn from our interactions with other people. THAT is where most learning takes place, and THAT is what makes social media such a compelling tool in a business sense.
  • Wanna see something cool?This is Dusty Payne of Maui. He's 22 years old and one of the world's best extreme surfers, and you can see why here.Let's just watch and marvel for a couple of minutes.==========Pretty impressive. Wanna know how he learned to do all of that?YouTube.He and a handful of friends would gather in Dusty’s living room and watch YouTube videos, and videos of themselves experimenting – trying impossible moves, failing a lot. They'd watch videos of skate boarders, snowboarders, motor cross riders, and they'd put the best of everything they saw into their surfing. Then they'd practice. Then they'd watch some more. Then they'd practice some more. Along the way, they became the very best at what they do.THAT'Swhat social learning is all about. That's how a new generation of folks is learning how to do things. And that's the power of social media.That's the filter we need.
  • Here’s another example of social learning in action:3. Listening agent: Joining the conversation. Cite Typepad example.
  • Trends on the Social Front

    1. 1. Trendson thesocial frontWhat’s worth payingattention to in socialmedia today? Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    2. 2. Trend No. 1: Be human. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    3. 3. Meet Seth. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    4. 4. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    5. 5. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    6. 6. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    7. 7. Maddie Jamie Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    8. 8. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    9. 9. Trend No. 2:Be an educator. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    10. 10. Change Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    11. 11. The world is changing From: To: Hierarchy  Network Command and control  Connect and collaborate Experience curve  Collaboration curve Lecturer  Facilitator Push  Pull Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    12. 12. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    13. 13. “Thinking about information overload isn’t accurately describing the problem. Thinking about filter failure is.”  Clay Shirky, New York University new media professor, writer, and consultant Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    14. 14. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    15. 15. Video: “Dusty Payne,” from SurfingVideos: Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    16. 16. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    17. 17. Trend No. 3: Be visual. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    18. 18. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    19. 19. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    20. 20. Trend No. 4:Divide and conquer. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    21. 21. Trends on the social front Download these slides: Follow me:  MACPA’s blog:        Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute