Open Business: Social Media Inspiration


Effect radical change by embracing social media at the core of your business strategy by implementing not just an engagement policy but an educative policy at the very heart of your business.

Come Out & Play!

When we talk websites and the Internet we speak about Web 2.0 today that describes design trends, information architecture and social media integration with clearly followed guidelines that more or less identify a modern website. While business are scampering all over themselves trying to jump onto the Social Media bandwagon and make a killing based on the promises of the future. I’m not one for pipe dreams, but the jazz being peddled to every enterprise, industrial and service oriented business and even small business is that your are either on the Social Media bus or lost in the wilderness.

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So we have businesses that hire Social Media or Digital Marketing agencies and believe that they are with it, hip and happening. Allow me to burst your bubble and while I’m at it I’ll take the liberty of poking needles in it like a voodoo doll! For starters, let’s define the new era the world is heading towards or in other words the radical changes we see taking place around us. Social media is as relevant as traditional media which is governed and censored by news agencies and governments too. So we have now a true democracy or ‘power to the people’ after all these years of well-intended independence. The power of the press and the written word is now firmly in the hands of the people. If the Marquis de Sade was living today, he wouldn’t have to sneak risque manuscripts through the stone walls of asylums when instead he might have a blog as popular as the Playboy.com website. So we have in essence a direct, uncensored and completely decentralized broadcast medium. Which brings us to the key aspect of open-ness in sharing information and knowledge with one and all. Sharing being the operative verb!

Open your Mind

During the cold war, USA and USSR had a clever Spy vs. Spy game on which reveled in revealing each other dirty dark secrets and exposing their dark underbellies. Information was stolen and clandestine operations were the order of the day. Similarly businesses have always operated in the context of concealing information and procuring their competitor’s undisclosed information. Which is why we hear questions arising on how employees can divulge information outside of the company using the power of the networks. The IT industry has been the most secretive industry with companies trying to outdo each other with radical new strides in their respective fields. Surprisingly this very industry has given us the concept of Free Software or Open-Source Software development. A concept ridiculed and reviled, the success of Linux and other public-domain tools in the corporate sector and mega-monetary returns has sealed the mouths of obstinate old-skool critics who believe in hiding rather than sharing. Knowledge sharing is tantamount in today’s information age with Wikipedia serving as another shining example eclipsing traditional big names like Britannica. I doubt if people even remember the term ‘encyclopedia’ anymore.

Biz 2.0

And so we return to the world of business and how we can effect radical change in its core functioning. At a recent forum with the panel speakers being two highly accomplished social media mavens, I pitched the question. Of all your clients (they were dropping names like breadcrumbs) how many would you say have explored the open culture and knowledge sharing ideology that social media encourages? They were hard pressed to answer in the affirmative. But truth be told many successful business are structured around offering free services and charging a premium for support or add-ons. Google for example has now become a mammoth, albeit an agile, dancing and singing one at that and we all know very well that their core service is still free to use for one and all. While we all know that their search algorithm is a well guarded secret, it is also true that the Android Operating System is a fine example of corporate guided open source developer powered product that has taken on the might of many well established competitors like RIM’s Blackberry OS and Apple’s insanely popular iOS.

So let us awaken and arise to the new dawn rising and grow out of our shell and cocoons and fly towards the horizon as beautiful winged butterflies making the world a prettier, better place to live, learn, love and laugh in.