I came across a presentation by Paul Adams from Google, which is embedded at the end of this post. Some things in this post struck me, while obvious I never considered them before. For example his statement:
The social web is not a fad, and it’s not going away. It’s not an add on to the web as we know it today. It’s a fundamental change, a re-architecture and in hindsight its evolution was obvious.
When I read this I though, yup all that is true. While things like facebook, twitter and foursquare may be very different in 5 years (or maybe not even around), the reality is that the services that they provide will still be there. The question that comes from this is what does it mean for all our applications. Do these applications need to be changed to make them social, is this always appropriate?
I was in a meeting about Service Management tools the other day and talking to a vendor about their offering and someone mentioned that the knowledge base that they had was a little out of date, but they didn’t have access to change it. I wondered whether socialising the data in there and letting user’s share their experiences and workarounds – rather than getting a help desk to read this information – would be a much more appropriate solution (something like a stackoverflow.com type of service. Thinking about this application, it is pretty much as bread and butter as you can get.
This quote is also thought provoking:
The social web and all social media that operates within it, is a way of thinking as opposed to a new channel. It’s not about sales, or click through rates. It’s about pursuing relationships and fostering communities of customers. It’s about rethinking how you make plans when your customers are in the center and in control.
This is a deep change indeed. Organisations that can better connect with their customers will certainly get better repeat business from their customers. The fact that the online world is catching up with our offline relationships indicates a dramatic shift in what the online world will become and thinking that where we are now is the end of the journey is probably much the same as Gutenberg thinking that the book was finished when he produced his Bible.
We certainly do live in interesting times.