Where does social go from here? Has the bubble burst, is the party over, is the fat lady warming up? If history is our guide, this party is just starting and about to rock the house.
What's Different This Time?
Business is different. For the first time in like 6 million years, business is behind in their adoption and use of a technology…wayyyyy behind. Remember when you'd see the latest and greatest information technologies in the workplace? Not anymore. Business is playing catchup.
Facebook's now infamous IPO popped the bubble of inflated expectations made famous by the analysts at Gartner. According to their model, once new technologies hit this stage, the noise in the press goes down, but understanding starts to go up even though we're wading through the "Trough of Disillusionment."
But because of them, business now owes Facebook a big favor. Facebook taught billions about the tools, techniques and approaches to social engagement -- and a global user community got up to speed on these tools on their own dime -- for the most part anyway.
But business nonetheless finds themselves in an unfamiliar place. Behind the learning curve on a new technology. That's all changing with Social Inc..
Awareness, Adoption, Understanding and Then Exploitation!
The business behavioral cycle that marries to the Hype Cycle goes through these four stages. Business is entering the third stage. Once business understands what this technology is about, they figure out many, many ways to exploit it. Exploitation means disruption. And I'm not talking about Facebook, I'm talking about the tools, techniques and approaches to social connections, communications, community and collaboration in the ultimate contextual environment, the workplace.
These behaviorally driven dimensions will be baked into everything. These changes will redefine strategy, processes, products, services and value propositions. As companies realize the productivity and innovation opportunities that this technology represents, they'll quietly, but dramatically change the way their businesses work, the way they engage their employees, investors and customers and the way they make money.
We Don't Need No Stinking Change Management
Remember this? You do if you've ever been through an ERP implementation, or any other large unnatural act of corporate evolution. This is different now, because you are up the learning curve on social technology. Business doesn't have to convince or coerce you to do things differently with these tools. You know this technology is better, and you are waiting for business to catch up, you are waiting for business to change, not the other way around. Change management as we've known it is dead, thankfully.
You've got socially latent demands and desires that you are waiting for the social enterprise to fulfill. Your behavior doesn't need to be managed to change anymore. Business just needs to catch up -- and catch up they are.
This party is on…and all bets are now off. Business as you know it will never be the same. It will be better, because you want it to be, because you are a social technology party animal.