Symposium 2010 is in full swing here in Orlando, Florida. Social Media and processes are front and center on the agenda. The meaning of the connections is coming up in a lot of conversations. Has anyone else gotten tired of the use of “Friends” in relation to social networks? From the mid-1990’s, and stretching for about ten years, there was a television show based out of the United States, which followed the lives of six friends. A growing part of the planet watched them: Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Joey, Monica (who’d a guessed she’d marry Chandler!) and Rachel (Ross! You knew that was coming! And doomed.). I wonder what they would have shared on facebook. Would they have posted Tweets to find out if they should date, or take a job, or lecture, or where to eat? And as I listen to an increasing number of people talk about social networks, I am looking for the patterns and archetypes of participants. There is the narcissist / scam artist, who posts how hard they are working, hoping to impress the boss. Or showing how intelligent or well travelled they are. Or how popular. There is the basic shut in who finally takes wing and can flock with a new gaggle. And then there is a large pool of people who seem resistant to many social networks. They seem to be more modest, less self-absorbed, more circumspect, and more covetous of their own privacy and that of their cohort group. Are any of these more, or less, important to a business?
Do we really have a good picture of the social network participation and what it means to sales and marketing and service? Do we know what backlash there might be when enough participants find that their personal data has been vacuumed up by hackers or a crime syndicate or the government or insurance companies or potential employers? Do we understand the odds that any of this might transpire?
How long is it before consumers require a ‘truth in data mining’ disclaimer from the enterprise, or from Google or Yahoo or Microsoft or facebook or anyone else, regarding the assembly and dissemination of their (your!) data to third parties? We made a big deal about telemarketers in the 1990s, imposing “do not call” laws. Are we going to see something similar coming up around social networking, or is this a genie that has escaped the bottle?
Have folks changed forever regarding privacy, or is it just a sub-segment who was always interested in being heard but lacked the mechanism? And which group will be most important to the future success of your business?
There is a lot more research to come. Down here at the Gartner US Symposium, we are exploring all of these topics. More later! But keep the emails coming, all – I’m enjoying your views on this evolving topic. The implications of ‘social’ to the enterprise are only beginning to be understood.