Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities.Sociological empowerment often addresses members of groups that social discrimination processes have excluded from decision-making processes through – for example – discrimination based on disability, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender or position.
Empowerment as a methodology is often associated with enabling people, communities and organizations to reach their full capacity.As we watch the “social era” emerge we’re witnessing people feeling empowered to converse, connect and collaborate on anything and everything on a global scale. The conversations are boundless and flow like swelling rivers of interest, strength and confidence.
Is The Web The Enabling Tool of Empowerment?
Today’s web is rich with functions and features able to reach millions, one to one at a time. Every week new advances, new communities and new tools enable human expression like never before in the history of mankind. The enablement features of today’s web include:
- Mass Communications
- Connectivity with people and communities of common affinities
- Broadcasting tools for the creation and distribution of user generated media
- Freedom to express an opinion or share an experience about anything, anyone and everything
- Conversational rivers that spread at the click of a mouse from one to one to millions
People are feeling empowered to speak out for and against anything and everything. Insulated from having to “speak alone” people connect with common experiences about life, business and brands. Feeling free these communications and related media are creating markets of their own. These new markets of conversations are and will continue to influence traditional markets. No one can hide from the impact of empowered conversations.
How Can Business Gain from all this Empowerment?
Traditionally businesses have talked a lot about empowering people to serve customers, each other and markets targeted by the business. However, business cultures have inherent barriers to empowerment. Power, politics and favoritism has yet to “leave the building” so to speak. Management enjoys power and human weakness uses power and politics for selfish gains rather than holistic gains” for all involved in the business, the people.
People have been constrained from freely expressing opinions or positions within organizations for decades. Human behavior has learned to adapt to the environments of institutional corporate speak while the very fiber of human nature wants to shout out issues, opinions and principals.
Now the curtain has been pulled back and the conversational web has empowered people to do what they’ve always wanted to do, express freely. Fundamentally businesses now must choose one or more of the following options as it relates to the newly enabled empowerment of the web. These options include:
- Ignore it and prepare for the repercussions
- Try and Control it and don’t be surprised to learn you can’t
- Ban it and then find it influencing your external market
- Embrace it and learn how to enable and empower your business to gain more than ever before
Which is the most logical and social choice of preference? Your actions or lack of actions will decide for you. More importantly your words and related actions will show whether you really believe in empowerment.
What say you?