i have a dream

I have a dream……

I dream of a day when social is not in my job title

I dream of the day when social is not called social

I dream of a day when social becomes what it deserves to be

Let me explain….

As I explained in my previous post “What is social media?” social media is just a phrase to describe the current state of the internet. I do not think hardly anyone on the face of the planet realises how much impact social will have on the way we live our lives and the way we run our businesses.

trip advisor

Let’s look at Trip advisor as an example: Trip advisor totally changed the way people book holidays and hotels around the world. It was established in 2000, long before what came to be known as social networks. Networks such as Facebook and Twitter were created some 6 or so years later. I do not know if they made a conscious decision not to label themselves as a social network. They seem to be doing pretty well off the back of it with a projected turnover of around $800m and a profit of around $200m in 2012. With just 100 million users, if they were to scale to the 1 billion users Facebook has, they would be much more successful.

bad hotel

Trip advisor demonstrates the change in the way people do business. It facilitates conversation around ratings, reviews, photos and videos of holiday destinations. In turn it sorts out the best and the worst hotels. In the future this will make the best even better, and exposethe worst for who they are. It will contribute to the success of the best businesses. It will speed up the natural selection process, which will be the end of the companies who do not serve their customers well. Do you think that you could open a hotel these days which didn’t put the customer at the center of their business? It would not last long because everyone would share their experiences on trip advisor.

In terms of how it will force businesses to be more honest, open and transparent, social needs to be at the heart of every business. It is not just talking about how to get likes on Facebook, it is how to shape the fundamental values of how your business thinks and operates.

The only way social will truly be successful, is when it stops being called social.

  • Social marketing becomes marketing
  • Social customer service becomes customer service
  • Social business becomes just business

“These tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring. It’s not when the shiny new tools show up that their use starts to permeate society, it is when everyone is able to take them for granted.”

Quote from Clark Shirky TED talk

If you can not view the embedded video follow this link > > > http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cellphones_twitter_facebook_can_make_history.html

This quote illustrates that until people take the tools for granted they will never achieve their full potential.

The day people stop calling it social and start letting it be just a part of their business or their life, will be a giant step forward.  Only when this happens will “social” be truly as great as it should.

A wise man once told me “the meaning of one’s communication is the reaction that it evokes”. In essence the meaning of what you say to someone is not what you think it is, it is what they think it is. Bearing this in mind I will never be able to drop “social” from my job title until the average man or women in the street says I can. If I do it too early then no one will understand who or what I am.

Your thoughts?

There is a famous quote that says “the difference between a mad man and a genius is success”.

Do you have any successes in this area to help prove that you are a genius and not just a mad man for agreeing with these ideas?

I would love your feedback and comments.

Join the conversation


  1. Totally agree Chris. Having ‘social’ in the job title is also a big problem when you are in a position of trying to use these sites/networks effectively for business. Because the eventual ideal is not having social business experts, but instead having experts using social for business. In B2B in particular, what matters is expert advice when making buying decisions. When using social to consider options they really want to hear from experts in the product, not marketing or ‘social media’ people pushing content at them. This is troublesome for us ‘social peopl’ particularly on LinkedIn, where it is immediately apparently what your job title is. If you are ‘just’ the social guy in the conversation your point of view/knowledge is is always going to be inferior to the technical/process experts – especially in complex territory like ERP systems and process automation. I guess If the end ideal is to have experts in social, maybe the true role of social experts is to inspire and coordinate this activity towards that end. Eventually rendering us redundant! Thoughts?

    1. I don’t feel inferior to a product expert, I just have different skills and a different perspective. I think the world in general doesn’t get what social is so that is why people look down on you as just “the social guy” because it isnt as important as what they do.

      I think if we could accurately predict that if in 10 years time or even five years time all the good jobs will be taken by people who can use social to its full extent then those who were questioning it would see the point of doing it. I guess adoption of social will help evolve the work forces getting rid of the old ways of doing things and accelerate new ways.

      I believe the cultural change required with social is so significant that it will take companies decades to change which will be plenty more work for the like of you and I.

      When social adoption is near 100% it will become a commodity becasue everyone will do it. Then the forward thinking early adopters of technology will have moved onto something new.

      There will always be something new we can evangelise and always a bunch of laggards who don’t see the point of doing it. The cycle will restart.

  2. Chris, your comment about how social will have arrived when we drop the word “social” resonated with how we have dropped the word “information”. We still use the term IT (without really acknowledging the I in IT) but information technology has become just technology. People have forgotten that waterwheels and car manufacturing are technologies, the power of the new use of the term technology is that it has dropped the “information”. Is there a definable point in history when this happened do you think?

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