Social Waves vs. Storms

by Jay Deragon on 12/02/2010

Along the social media coast line storm surges  arise when new information enters the  market of conversations. Like a storm on the horizon the activity generated from new information creates a wave of new knowledge. These waves of new knowledge come from entrepreneurs and organizations that view new developments within the social space as opportunities to “add value” to their own ideas and initiatives.

When someone announces a new development or a company releases a new product the “social waves” rise as more and more people discover the significance of the information. Insignificant information barely creates a social ripple while significant information actually gets transformed into a wave of new knowledge.

Social Waves vs. Storms

Social storm surges are an abnormal rise of interest  generated by a social wave of activity, over and above the normal activity. Social waves  should not be confused with social storms, which is defined as the introduction of innovation that changes the business landscape and related rules of the game. A social storm can be coming behind a wave but only when the innovation being introduced attracts enough conversations that it in effect creates the storm.

Factors Impacting Social Storms

A social storm surge is produced by conversations being pushed toward a market yet served or currently unsatisfied. The impact of a social storms  associated with intense waves of interest is minimal in comparison to the long tail impact on an entire marketplace unprepared or unknowing .

While the marketplace is consumed with creating metrics to measure social media ROI the driving factor of an ROI from social media is creating a social storm vs. a social wave. Creating social storms requires an understanding of an  intent of return which is how you or your organizations engages with the marketplace and returns value to buyers.  Your intent ought to be focused on serving and providing value unexpected or better than expected rather than trying to “catch people” in a conversation or a marketing campaign using tricks of the old trade and calling it “social”.

Like waves of water social media is fluid and to ride the wave without understanding how to create a storm  may be a fruitless effort. To influence an entire marketplace history has shown that creating storms that favor the consumers interest and needs is much move productive then doing the same old thing using a new tool called social media. Measuring  a wave is like trying to contain a flood by focusing on things you can’t see or understand, a social storm upstream beyond your line of sight.

Social storms are created by the few while the many simply try and surf the social waves and end up drowning from the force of the storm behind the waves. Get it?

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