Ever need a tool in your house only to find it has been misplaced and you can’t find it? I, like most typical guys, have a nice shiny toolbox in the garage with compartments, drawers and enough to make it look like I am a real mechanic.
Fact is my limits on “fixing things around the house” are limited to changing light bulbs. However, my toolbox is filled with every kind of tool you can imagine, looks impressive to say the least. Yet when I need a simply screwdriver or hammer I can’t seem to find them, sound familiar?
How Many Tools are Enough?
Whenever we run out of light bulbs I make the trip to Lowes. While the aim was to simply get a stock of light bulbs I always end up buying some new tool thinking “I could use this”, but when, how and why never enters my mind. So over time I’ve collected hundreds of tools that sit in my shining toolbox in the garage under the premise that someday they could be useful. Yet many times I can’t even find the basic tools needed to do basic things around the house . At times I’ll get on an organization kick and run around the house collecting all the scattered tools only to find that I actually have ten different screwdrivers because when I couldn’t find one I simply bought another one.
Is Our Web Experience Like Going to Lowes?
Everyday my inbox gets suggestions from friends and business associates about some new widget, gadget, network, technology development, announcement etc. all promising greater leverage, increased distribution or broader reach to audiences, markets etc. Twitter streams with short comments on the latest and greatest development. Facebook applications explode daily with friends inviting us try this or that. The blogosphere is filled with commentary on the latest trends, techniques and technology.
The social web has become the biggest “Hardware Store in the World” tempting us to grab something because it is cool and someday you may need it or find it useful. Tempted by the lure of “having and needing” we download, bookmark and engage in these offers hoping to use them for some purpose or value since my friends and contacts suggest them there must be something of value for me. Remember my post on TADD (Technological Attention Deficit Disorder)?
What is Required?
When you step back from the “tools” hype of the moment and think about the fundamentals of what you do on the web it breaks down to fundamentals aimed at a purpose. The fundamentals include:
- Production: We produce and create profiles, content, communications, ideas, relationships and offerings
- Distribution: We distribute communications, content, ideas throughout communities to to people using tools of the trade
- Connection: What we produce and distribute connects with people, communities or it doesn’t
- Learning: Feedback from our production, and that of others, distribution and connections enables us to learn and advance our thinking
- Actions: Based on the outcomes of the previous four fundamentals we act, adjust and recycle 1-5 aimed at a purpose
With the fundamentals established we aim at our purpose. The purpose of participating within the social web is two fold; personal and business. Purpose can be defined as:
There is a fundamental human need for guiding ideals that give meaning to our actions”, states Roger Fisher. Renowned psychiatrist Victor Frankl’s premise is that ‘man’s search for meaning’ is the primary motivation of his life. He speaks of the ‘will to meaning. According to some philosophies, purpose is central to a good human life. In our personal life we use tools to achieve our purpose
The purpose of a business is primarily routed in producing value for all stakeholders: shareholders,suppliers, employees and customers
Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li of Forrester write: “We continually get asked by our corporate clients: why do people participate in social activity online? What drives them?”. In other words what is the purpose?
The purpose of participating within the social web starts with your aim and whether that aim fulfills a purpose. The ingrained hype of technological tools has individuals and businesses flocking to the web but what seems apparent is a lack to clearly define their purpose thus a lot of wasted time and attention with no purpose. How and what you define as your purpose defines your outcomes. Your perspective on the purpose influences how you invest your time, what networks you will join, what tools you use, and the value you create with your relationships.
Mike Gunderloy, of webworkerdaily writes: There’s one simple rule to keep in mind: a software tool (whether a desktop application or a web application) is only worth adding to your collection if its expected value exceeds its expected cost.
When I went to Lowes for the light bulb I spent more money buying tools I rarely use. When I came home I used the light bulb so I could see better in the dark. The value I received from the light bulb exceeded the value of the tools sitting in the toolbox. When we go to the “Virtual hardware Store on the Web” look for the light bulbs and try and remember your bookmarks already have an abundance of screwdrivers. While new tools make help us more effectively achieve the fundamentals without an aim there is no purpose. Get it? Hey, anyone seen my screwdriver?
What say you?