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The social web is driven by human beings looking for better ways to connect, communicate, create and share content. No usage manual was ever issued for Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, and yet users automatically and inherently know how to contribute to, and extract value from, these platforms.
They are profoundly human in nature and construct.
Companies venture into social media to stay competitive, to open up communication with customers and remain relevant in the eyes of their employees. However, just having a social profile does not make a business social; it’s how your organisation engages with and on that platform that determines success.
The platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.) and their enormous communitieshave turned many of our preconceived notions of business, communication and commerce upside down. Wikipedia has revolutionised the way we think about education and expertise. YouTube has revolutionised the way we think about broadcast media. Facebook has revolutionised the way we think about relationships and advertising. Twitter has revolutionised the way we think about influence.
It is not the technology behind Facebook or the code behind Twitter that lend them multi-billion dollar valuations. The technology component of any of these apps, services or sites is easily replicable at minimal expense. No, it is the identities and connections of their users that dictate such astronomical price tags. Even more, it is the way that all those billions of users are interacting that is a wake up call for all of us. It’s all about authenticity, openness, transparency and vulnerability – principles and behaviours that are not exactly fundamental pillars of Industrial Age business!