Operating on the assumption that consumer behavior is driving corporate innovation, transformation and design faster than any internal strategies it appears past time to wake-up and pay attention to the impact of social media.
"The Future of the Social Web," by Jeremiah Owyang, a Forrester senior analyst, examines the monumental changes that have shaped -- and will continue to impact -- how consumers engage with each other. While you read these excerpts think of the impacts to your business, not just marketing but your value proposition, how you operate and the talent you employ.
1. The era of social relationships: Beginning in the mid-1990s, people signed up for online profiles and connected with their friends to share information.
2. The era of social functionality: As it exists today, social networking is more than just a platform for "friending," but one that can support a broader array of what Owyang calls "social interactive applications." However, identities are essentially disconnected silos within individual sites.
3. The era of social colonization: By late 2009, technologies such as OpenID and Facebook Connect will begin to break down the barriers of social networks and allow individuals to integrate their social connections as part of their online experience, blurring the lines between networks and traditional sites.
4. The era of social context: In 2010, sites will begin to recognize personal identities and social relationships to deliver customized online experiences. Social networks will become the "base of operation for everyone's online experiences."
5. The era of social commerce: In approximately two years, social networks will be more powerful than corporate Web sites and CRM systems, as individual identities and relationships are built on this platform. Brands will serve community interests and grow based on community advocacy as users continue to drive innovation in this direction.
Although I have come to realize the business world still organizes around very tight bubbles of self-interest (echo chambers) the folks who grab the link potential of networks will be the game changers. Their future will look like the future outlined above.
~Victoria G. Axelrod