When the small thing becomes the big thing and the guy who made the big thing recognizes this, there's a brand new ballgame beginning. Here's what happened.
I was flying to Chicago this week to speak on a panel about hot topics at the 2013 IT and Professional Services Summit hosted by Childs Advisory Partners and CTPartners and was catching up on my reading.
WIRED's May edition covers their twenty year anniversary and includes an A-Z listing of the major technology issues over this time. Facebook was, as expected, one of the "F's." There was one statement made by Mark Zuckerberg in this piece that caught my eye. It mirrored a point I had just made a few days ago while speaking to a group of MBA and EMBA students at the University of California, Irvine.
In the WIRED piece, Mark says:
Hmmmm, the big stuff in social is now the small stuff?
This is precisely what I talk about in my book SOCIAL INC. and what I shared with the UC, Irvine students. Here's what this means–context, context and context!!
The history of social technology adoption and diffusion, which I addressed in the blog post "Social Technology's Great Vanishing Act" on Social Media Today, teaches us that these technologies fragment. We stop gathering around the community spot, and lift and shift the new tools, techniques and related behaviors that these innovations have introduced us to back into specialty and niche domains.
There's a lot more relevancy in these niche domains, and a lot more meaning because they relate closer to how we live our lives, and get things done. We spend more time in these niche areas in aggregate than with the exercise of joining a collective gathering spot that introduces us to, and teaches us about a new tool. Once we learn what the tool is about, we take it back into our lives, and use what's relevant to change how specific things get done–and we stop gathering in the community square, or around the communal fire.
This point in time also signals that a major period of disruption is about to occur, because the way that everything gets done is rethought in the context of these tools. This is today's opportunity and risk for businesses around social technology's next act. Some get this, most don't. The competitive playing field erupts with technology fueled innovation.
The future is frequently hiding in plain sight. Zuckerberg's comment reinforces the research and conclusions that I reached in SOCIAL INC. around the evolution and adoption of social technology and tells us that the future of social will be much different than it's recent past. Facebook's role in this fragmented, but still very social world? Who knows.
But this isn't your 12 year-olds social anymore.