Is “Social” About to Land on You?

by Jay Deragon on 04/07/2010

It is amusing to watch how brands react when an aircraft loaded with “people’s experiences” is about to land on their runway. Much of the reaction is to stare on the oncoming aircraft or run and get out of the way.

The marketplace has become a battle field for consumer attention. Corporations tend to think that just getting attention is a worthy exercise that plays into their “business game”. The game has shifted to the people, formerly known as the audience, who are creating the attention you once thought you could get.

What is the Business Game?

Business is a game of numbers. Have you noticed how obsessed corporations are with having and getting numbers about everything? Ever wonder why? Whether management realizes it or not the reason for obsession with numbers is because of the influence that “business theory” has had and continues to have over business behavior and practices.  The problem today is that most business really don’t understand what numbers really matter and why the numbers that matter aren’t even being considered. Especially today given the influence of social technology and the relevant implications to the “game of business”.  Have you noticed the obsession with social media ROI?

Social Technology is More about Game Theory than Business Games

Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is used in the social sciences, most notably in economics. Game theory attempts to mathematically capture behavior in strategic situations, in which an individual’s success in making choices depends on the choices of others. It has been expanded to treat a wide class of interactions, which are classified according to several criteria. Today, “game theory is a sort of umbrella or ‘unified field’ theory for the rational side of social science, where ‘social’ is interpreted broadly, to include human as well as non-human players (computers, animals, plants)” (Aumann 1987).

Although some developments occurred before it, the field of game theory came into being with the 1944 book Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. This theory was developed extensively in the 1950s by many scholars.

For institutions to succeed in the social era then leaders need to understand the “game theory”.  Why? Read the descriptive again for the game theory. Key words include applied mathematics, social science and economics. Game theory attempts to mathematically capture behavior in strategic situations, in which an individual’s success in making choices depends on the choices of others.  Get it yet. The choices of others is what influences individual and organization success.  So what is it that all this social stuff is doing? Influencing people’s choices.

Getting people’s attention with manipulative advertising and marketing message is indeed having an effect and influence on people’s choices, the wrong business effect. Now that “people” have the power to “talk back, one to one to many, the influence has shifted from the game of business to the game of people, formerly known as the audience, having the influence.

Millions of people are participating in the “game theory” whether they know it or not.  Those businesses that understand and apply “game theory” can begin to make the right choices. In making the right choices by enabling the “people” to make the right choice businesses can tap into the knowledge inventory of applied mathematics, social science and economics.

Having the right knowledge at the right time determines how you play the game. It is no longer about being obsessed with numbers rather being obsessed with acquiring knowledge that influences peoples choices. Get it?

{ 24 comments }

textpack April 8, 2010 at 8:07 am

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CFM Charter April 8, 2010 at 6:17 am

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Steve Summers April 7, 2010 at 9:57 pm

@JDeragon nice article today about "game theory" http://bit.ly/9ZF2eP Is "Social" About to Land on You?

Jamie Turner April 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I like what Dan says, “One point it seems is that everyone is being forced into a higher level of strategy.” I think that’s very true, indeed.

The good news on all this is that social media can be measured and can have a positive ROI. If your readers are interested in my take on the “Top 11 Ways to Measure a Social Media Campaign,” they can download a short white paper on the topic here: http://www.60SecondMarketer.com/Social

The white paper outlines the best metrics for measuring a social media campaign. And, no, one of them isn’t number of Twitter followers! LOL.

Best
Jamie Turner
The 60 Second Marketer

Verizon Friends April 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm

"Game has shifted to the people" | Is "Social" About to Land on You? | The Relationship Economy… http://ow.ly/1vJNj

Suzanne Coblentz April 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Interesting commentary on influence, how much control do you have on your message? http://bit.ly/aEbLpu

dan April 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

Interesting post jay;

One point it seems is that everyone is being forced into a higher level of strategy. In the old days, you could just count output and count input and make adjustments. Today business leaders, social media strategists, marketers are being forced into mathematically rich tools such as game theory, statistical analysis, bell curves, not to mentions extraordinary analytics of web activity. Now they are about to get flooded with data as Facebook opens the gates…..

What most people don’t realize is that this is the World that Wall Street had all to itself for the last 100 years…. Now that sounds like opportunity to me.

Topsy April 7, 2010 at 8:04 am

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Allen Howell April 7, 2010 at 7:05 am

RT @TopsyRT: Is "Social" About to Land on You? http://bit.ly/dr7FnB Can the gaming theory be applied to our industry?

Joe Grasso April 7, 2010 at 6:50 am

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JobShoots April 7, 2010 at 6:41 am

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Wales Social Media April 7, 2010 at 6:33 am

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AllThingsM April 7, 2010 at 5:40 am

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Vanessa Warwick April 7, 2010 at 5:10 am

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Achievers Network April 7, 2010 at 5:08 am

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prblogs April 7, 2010 at 5:08 am

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Angela Suddarth April 7, 2010 at 5:04 am

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The Social CEO April 7, 2010 at 5:04 am

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StarGazon April 7, 2010 at 5:02 am

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JDeragon April 7, 2010 at 5:01 am

Today's post: Is "Social" About to Land on You? http://bit.ly/cvRS6y

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