The Game of All Social Games

by Jay Deragon on 03/08/2011

Many companies are ignoring the implications of the social web on their business. Most do not consider the strategic implications the web has and will continue to have on their business. The web is creating a new game and the rules of this game are totally different than the rules of the old business game.

Everyone is chasing “social” as if it was the cure all and end all. Whether you’re a brand, a non-profit, a politician or a small business the lure of social media is pulling everyone into the game.

Over the past several years the stories of how people are using social media has dominated the web and is now bleeding into main stream media. People and organizations are creating eye-opening stories about how they applied social media to accomplish an objective.   The irony of these stories is that most people and organizations who played the game don’t realize that the game rules are in a constant state of flux. As such today’s message and methods do not insure winning tomorrows game.

Business Game Theories Have Changed

The game of a business is to constantly produce results that satisfies shareholders, customers and employees. What differs from one business to another is which specific games are played to produce the desired results. Business Game theories are a branch of applied mathematics that is used in social sciences, most notably in economics, and management. Game theories of the past were based on old business conditions, social structures and economic models that are no longer relevant in today’s business environments.  The theories are changing but the business models aren’t.

An article from Knowledge at Wharton saysClearly, social media has revolutionized how human beings interact,” says Kendall Whitehouse, director of new media at Wharton. “It’s logical to ask how it can transform internal business processes.” Shawndra Hill, a Wharton operations and information management professor, agrees, but says there is a lack of concrete measurement on the impact of social networking on business returns. “Social networking in the enterprise sector is relatively new, and better tools can enable people to communicate across an organization. But before this really takes off, there needs to be some proof that these things are useful.”

W. Edwards Deming would respond to this article by saying “Do you want proof that quality is important to the customer? If yes then watch why, who and how competition takes your customer away”   “Is effective and efficient communications useful? If so how would you measure them? If you can’t measure something does that mean you shouldn’t do it?  The customer, including your employees, would tell you that quality in communications is the essence of quality in relations.” How would you measure relations? With dollar bills? NO!  That is the wrong measure just like everything else you measure.

The Wharton article states “But before this really takes off, there needs to be some proof that these things are useful.” If you asked employees and customers whether real time honest communications were useful what would they say?  Of course what employees and customers say isn’t useful or proof of anything 🙂

Change the Theory or Loose the Game

Innovative uses of social media is the central driving force for any business, any cause or any nation  that wants to grow organically and succeed in the new economy. This is a game-changing dynamic which will evolve rapidly as will the influence and impact on everything.

The game has just begun. There are no spoken rules rather the rules are hidden in the fiber of human relations and only spoken to the hearts and minds of those participating in the game of change.  A game changes when people learn “why” people play the game and not necessarily “how” they play the game today.  The rules of the game change when we learn why which changes how we use something as simple yet profound as the ability to “communicate” to and with the human network like never before in the history of mankind.

The game of all social games is changing how we think.

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