Because of the great depths of the social web, the waves of conversations start very small, yet the energy from these conversations can cause the small waves to increase in size, speed and reach at the click of a mouse. As the conversational waves merge together they begin to get noticed by more people, by traditional media, by business and the collective influence represents a potential tidal wave of change.
Few can see the approaching tidal waves of change fueled by the social web. Most traditional businesses and the people who run them spend little time looking at the horizon. Instead they concentrate on avoiding the obstacles in their current path only to be surprised when a new obstacle appears at a moments notice, creating yet another wave of change.
Using this tidal wave metaphor, the social web has caught many businesses and individuals by surprise and many more aren’t even aware that the waves of conversations continue to build. Discounted as a fad and referenced as a bubble like the dot com era, business leaders simply are not paying attention to the waves of conversations and the subsequent dynamics these conversations represent. The dot com era was fueled by hype and investors chasing the hype. The social web is fueled by conversations and people, not money, engaging in waves of conversations.
Today Is Not Like Yesterday
History shows us that like an earthquake significant technological changes create a new landscape, a new environment that becomes the new reference point to the future. Technological change is fueling the tidal wave of conversations which represents even more changes to the landscape and environment of business. Reacting to these changes using methods, mindsets and models from yesterday only fuels yet another tidal wave of conversations which can create a negative impact on business results. Consider the reaction from over 30,000 Facebook users when Hasbro complained about the existence of the Scrabulous application.
The Quiet (becoming loud) Revolution
When a technology satisfies a social need, a revolution is created. One of mankind’s social needs is to communicate. Every time a technology like smoke signals, the telegraph, the telephone and the Web, to name a few, has allowed us to lift the bar on our ability to communicate, a revolution in how we live, work, play and relate followed.
The difference between evolution and revolution is in the significance of the changes. Take a minute and just consider what significant changes have occurred as a result of the social web. Over 500 million people are having open, frank and honest conversations never before experienced until the social web came into existence. These conversations are creating small waves, some large, across major business segments, markets and within families, schools and society. If your not aware of the relative waves of changes occurring then your simply not plugged into the power cord of conversation, one to one to millions.
Lets put this into simple terms and perspectives. What if you told your spouse, your children, your customers, suppliers and business associates the following: I don’t care to listen to you. I don’t want to engage in any further conversations. I don’t care what you think, feel or say it is no longer of importance or relevant to me. What influence would your response have on your relationships? Would you create a evolution in your relationships or a revolution?
What say you?