All problem situations, regardless of the specific kind of problem, have the same general structure. The three elements of this structure are:
1. the problem state
2. the solved state, and
3. the solution path.
The practical implications of the general problem relative to use of social media is one of apposing force fields. On one side of the problem you have internal forces “pushing” an organizations culture to do things the way management wants them done. On the opposing side you have the market forces desiring outcomes from the marketplace represented by the businesses who offer value to the market.
Internal forces of a business represent the collective interaction of people, processes, technology and communications. Collectively these “forces” should be managed for optimum outcomes that exceed any markets expectation. Doing so is an aim of never ending improvement that constantly and forever “listens” to the wants, needs and desires of the external forces, the market.
The Force Field Of Social Media
Generally speaking users of social media enjoy the freedom to communicate which the technology enables for personal and professional objectives. Users are growing in influence and power while the suppliers to the markets chase the users attention and attraction to business propositions. The irony is that most businesses don’t realize that the market of conversations includes their internal resources, their suppliers and they do indeed communicate.
The “field” between driving forces and constraining forces is where either conflicts arise or opportunities are realized. Conflicts represent unmet expectations which are then communicated and either resolved or ignored. Opportunities are where issues that impact the organizations performance are openly communicated and resolved. Problems not resolved represent issues that sooner or later get communicated into “the field” which lies between the two forces fueled by communications.
Current vs. desired conditions can either be improved by resolution or ignored. This separation of current conditions vs. desired outcomes represents organization opportunities to improve market relations and subsequently revenue. Notice the term “market relations” which implies “peoples” experience with the organization. People being internal and external relations which engage with the organization.
The current reality – In the case of users of social media, represents the experiences of the users — may be viewed as a response to a complex set of interacting opposing forces. The opposing forces are institutional methods vs. crowd methods resulting from use of social media. This represents a field of forces and the forces can go against you or with you. Going against the crowd brings consequences. Many behaviorists might call it the “imbalance of consequences.” Because of social media the balance of power and influence has shifted to the people vs. the institutions.
Businesses want to increase economic gains, users want the opportunity to to be heard and served. Why don’t business leaders apply thought leadership and simply close the gap between business wants and user desires? The reason is that the power of communications has been unleashed to people and most business leaders think of communications as the means to seek control of their current environment.
The current environment has shifted away from previous environmental constraints. This new “open environment” of communications is both a threat to the old and an opportunity for the new. Old vs. new is not about age rather it is all about thinking.