Useful vs. Useless Social Knowledge

by Jay Deragon on 12/15/2010

Useless means having or being of no use and not able to give service or aid. Being able to comprehend useless means you have to understand useful.

Useful means a capable of being put to use, serviceable for an end or purpose, of a valuable or productive kind. Key word here is PRODUCTIVE!

Productivity is a measure of output from a production process, per unit of input.

Conversations can be productive for numerous reasons. Much depends on the intent of the conversation. Personal conversations are more relevant to social productivity which is a measure of output from relational processes that create satisfaction for both parties.

Professional  conversations can have personal relationship elements but the intent is to increase output, sales or service, from institutional processes aimed at satisfying a market, one or more customers.

The difference between personal and professional productivity is the process and the intent. One is relational and the other in institutional. Both have several  common elements that impact the quality of relationships. These common elements are:

  1. Communications
  2. Knowledge desired and created from the input
  3. Knowledge of solutions from  outputs
  4. Satisfaction from fulfillment of intents

A personal or professional intent cannot be fulfilled until related parties communicate. The driving factors that makes communications productive is 1) knowledge of intent and 2)  knowledge of capabilities to fulfill the intent. Communications without knowledge of either becomes wasteful, frustrating and costly.

Learning, Finding and Sharing  Useful Knowledge

We hear and see people claiming to be “gurus” of “how to” do everything, anything and with anyone and everyone using this thing called “social media”.  You see it in articles, updates everywhere and direct messages on Twitter. The question is whether the “suppliers” as well as the “buyers” of all these claims are finding improved productivity from the content being propagated.

Everyone is a supplier and consumer of “knowledge”.  Knowledge rest between our ears and in the content we communicate whether with personal or professional intent. As we said previously communications without knowledge of  desired intent aligned with intended solutions becomes wasteful, frustrating and costly. Most of the conversations, or intended conversations, being propagated by the use of social media are indeed wasteful, frustrating and costly.

One wonders 1) is anyone using their knowledge for useful purposes and 2) is anyone learning, finding and sharing useful knowledge?

Social Illusions of Gains Without Knowledge

Consider how most organizations are using this thing called social media without consideration of the intent of the human network. They are applying old knowledge in the use and misuse of something new and innovative. They fail before they start because of an illusion of explanatory depth! In other words they end up doing useless things vs. finding ways to be useful. To be useful to the market you must align your intent with what the market considers useful.  Who needs more friends or messages that are not useful? Time and productivity are wasted when spent on useless messages and with people who do not have similar intents.

Any conversation, whether personal or professional, has intents to give and take mutually defined value. Value is defined as the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange.

Communications, which is what social media is all about, is the medium of exchange. Imagine if people and organizations would simply focus on learning, finding and sharing relevant knowledge that fulfills the intents of suppliers and buyers.   Advertising or marketing schemes aren’t aligned with the intent of the human network nor do they typically propagate useful social knowledge.  Instead most advertising and marketing schemes propagate useless knowledge which isn’t socially oriented towards personal or professional intents.

{ 1 comment }

Mark - Life Coach December 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Maintaining a social media presence is a lot of work, and every effort takes more time than you anticipate it will. It’s an important part of Marketing and a great way to make a business more personal and not just “a business” which is useless.

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