Social Technology's Great Vanishing Act

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A predictable but paradoxical thing is starting to happen with social technology. It's starting to vanish but we're becoming increasingly dependent upon it.  

Now, as you know, everyone associates social with the hype of Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, the iPhone and the many other innovations that have burst upon the scene like an alien exploding out of John Hurt.  

Today's version of social technology owes it's arrival to the convergent creation of all of these innovations including maturation of the internet, the cloud, increases in bandwidth, etc.  

Drucker and Technology

But social technology needs to be defined differently than by the tools that have enabled new ways of getting things done.  As Peter Drucker would say "Technology is not about tools, it deals with how Man works."  Today's social technology enables new way to connect, communicate, collaborate and create and shape our communities.  What I call the 4C's of social technology.  

And I know the paradox around todays social technology is occurring, because it always does. The history of other social technologies teaches us that these new ways of working get abstracted into larger systems, and therefore start to disappear as discrete components, but we become increasingly dependent upon them.    


I believe social technology adoption and maturation actually goes through several discrete phases. Right now, we're at the phase where the tools and techniques of social engagement start to specialize.  This is the most disruptive and innovative stage as the way we get things done start to reengineer around the new social technologies.   

 Social technology adoption stages from the book  Social Inc.  

Social technology adoption stages from the book Social Inc.  

This is the stage where business starts to innovate with these tools, to embed them more deeply into every business process that can exploit the new and better ways of connecting, communicating, collaborating and creating and shaping community.  

Once they embed themselves more deeply into larger systems, they stop being a discrete category unto themselves.  They just become part of the way we get things done, and we wonder how there ever was any other way.  

Innovation and Disruption are Close Cousins

While leaders understand that disrupting the status quo is a natural progression to business, not everyone shares this view.  So while innovation peaks, disruption does also. But eventually, innovation wins out.   The economic advantages of new social technologies together with the rampant customer adoption of these tools, force them into every organization over time.  

Resistance is futile, or fatal to these types of disruptive technologies.  

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