Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

by Jay Deragon on 09/01/2008

Watching developments throughout the social web is a story of never ending change. Whether you are a newbie or early adopter to all this social stuff, the predominant observation is that everything is fluid and change is the only element of consistency.

What Are the Elements of Change

At first we don’t see the magnitude of changes resulting from all this “social stuff”. We think if we just did better what we had always done, we would be OK. Then we realize we have to do something totally different, but we don’t know what. What we will need to do differently is shaped by the elements of change.

Today the elements which will drive constant systemic change appear to be:

  1. Mass collaboration accelerates change faster than previously experience
  2. Conversations fuel creativity and innovation and ultimately new markets
  3. Technology is the enabler of human interaction that scales beyond previous measures
  4. Human interaction accelerates learning, knowledge and conversational distribution of both
  5. The perpetuation of “free” necessitates improved value propositions for economic gains
  6. Today’s impact is but a ripple compared to the swells of change on the horizon
  7. Today’s conclusions are not tomorrows answer
  8. Business models and value propositions will have to align with constantly changing market demands
  9. Markets will be driven by relational attributes rather than advertising and marketing processes
  10. Search engines will adopt a new criteria driven by subject relevancy and relationships

These elements, and others, are the driving force of “systemic changes” that create disruption in all markets, society in general and fuel a new economy. Some of these elements are creating changes today while others will create the changes of tomorrow. All the elements, collectively and individually, will follow stages of systemic change for businesses and individuals globally.

Stages of Systemic Changes

Six stages of change characterize the shift from an old system to one that emphasizes interconnectedness, active learning, shared decision making and higher levels of conversational participation by all participants.

The six stages are:

Maintenance of the Old System: People and businesses focus on maintaining the old system as originally designed. They do not recognize that the system is fundamentally out of sync with the conditions of today’s connected world. New knowledge about the value created by the new system needs to be incorporated into the hearts and minds of the people who want to cling to the old system and discount the value of the new one .

Awareness: Multiple stakeholders become aware that the current system is not working, as well as it should, but they are unclear about what is needed instead. Information about all this “techno-social stuff” begins to creep into the hearts and minds of the stakeholders which fuels possibility thinking.

Exploration: Individuals and organizations begin to study and try to apply “social tools” to their personal or professional needs or wants for improved value creation. They try new tools, talk to the “gurus of the moment”, read what others are doing and begin to test ways to use this “techno-social stuff” for different purposes. The exploration stage is generally applied to low-risk situations.

Transition: The scales tip toward the new system; a critical number of opinion leaders and groups commit to the new system and take more risks to make changes in crucial places. Adoption of “social tools” begins to spread like wildfire and new discoveries and possibilities fuel conversations about the possibilities both internally and externally.

Emergence of the New System: The possibilities become the reality and widespread use of the new system begins to attract people’s time, attention and consistent usage.

Predominance of the New System: The new system becomes the preferred system and adoption begins to touch all aspects of performance. Learning and knowledge gained becomes the fuel which accelerates the endless recycling of the six stages of change.

The cycle of change is speeding up. Just consider the political, social, cultural and economic waves of change surrounding us today. To prepare for the future and to seize opportunities one must understand the elements that are driving the changes and the stages of change.

Will you be prepared or surprised? What say you?


George Bigger September 1, 2008 at 8:03 am

These great observations point all of us toward a dynamic future that will be changing instantly – 24-7-365. We will all need ’round-the-clock’ feedback and ‘live-in’ planning so we can foresee, prepare, adjust, and instantly respond to survive. Our new pattern for progress will require a proactive approach within a global 360-degree perspective (Global Relationship Management). Some will know where to look, and what to ask for…

Peter Allan Roberts September 1, 2008 at 7:33 am

Quote! – Watching developments throughout the social web is a story of never ending change. Whether you are a newbie or early adopter to all this social stuff, the predominant observation is that everything is fluid and change is the only element of consistency.

This is certainly true in the emergence of social networks and the explosion of online video. Savvy marketers are realizing that long textural sales copy on landing pages are no longer converting a decent percentage ROI.

The reason is obvious – video is now in great demand; people are becoming bored with plain text and vote with their feet. Efforts to encourage surfers to remain on the page, and sign up for their product have improved with the inclusion of embedded video.

Technology is advancing further with the development of video templates, known as “skins”, making the video presentation more appealing.

Most marketers are unaware, this freely available technology, developed for everyone to create their own exciting surrounds is online now.

The marketing potential of this new development is enormous and has prompted me to write a free book on the subject ~ details available at
This website shows video examples and is totally open source (no selling)!

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