Tomorrow’s Networked Economy

by Jay Deragon on 10/14/2011

The more people I talk to and the more research I do a consistent theme stands out. People don’t resist change they resist being changed. In the social networking space most users want improvements while operators resist the very improvements users want. Instead operators throw out features to copy competitors or features they dreamed up with little customer feedback.

When I think about all the social networking platforms out there several issues show up as “the blinding flash of the obvious” in terms of what should change for me to save time and be more productive.

Jumping from one network to another and signing into each is a ridiculous requirement only reflecting the closed environment and mentality of the operators. The signing in process is not a differential rather a requirement that begins a process. The process is connecting, reading, watching, interacting and searching for opportunities to expand relations and knowledge. The differential in networks is the people who use them and how the networks are structured and organized around “networking as a process”. The silo mentality of today’s operators create barriers to entry and hinder productivity from the users perspective. It would be beneficial if network operations step back and took a lesson in understanding variation and its cost and impact on customer satisfaction.

One network offers rich media while another doesn’t offer any. One network controls your invitations while another doesn’t. Another network remains way to open in terms of unstated rules while another network stays closed in terms of strict unstated rules. Variation in process may seem like a differential but as we scream towards a relationship economy variation must be reduced or value cannot be optimized.

Optimization of the system of networking begins with the users in mind and ends with innovation. Facebook recently opened API’s and Linkedin is apparently following suit. Go figure. The mice will follow the maze that they themselves created as a paradigm of thinking within their closed walls. Optimization of the parts does not optimize the whole. System optimization requires coordination and cooperation of the parts which requires leadership. Improving a system requires ongoing customer feedback. But who in the market today is leading?

The Theory of Knowledge requires new theories, not old ones. Knowledge depends on theory. Information is not knowledge. Experience teaches nothing without theory. Practice makes permanent, not perfect. Copying examples does not lead to knowledge. The landscape of social networking promises to bring some interesting and new mediums for business and personal life objectives. However much of today’s leadership theories are reflected by the silo thinking of their particular networks or the copycat mentality. But who in the market today is leading?

The future holds a new paradigm for users. We will have our own Network Portal, on line and mobile versions that sync, from which we will have many options to choose which functions and features we want. We’ll decide which feeds from what networks we want appearing in our custom designed  portal. Not unlike creating your own blog, your custom designed  portal with have numerous plug in functions and features but you design it for the privileges and preferences you want. Your  portal will be rich with multi-media and instead of being served ads you’ll choose which ads interest you at any particular time. You’ll sign into your  portal once and from all the other networks you’ll decide who you want to connect with and communicate with. You’ll decide what communities of interest appear on your portal and you’ll have the power to change than at anytime. You will be able to watch custom news on topics that your interested in whether personal or professional.

Sounds a lot like Google+


Dick Davies October 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm

David Sloan Wilson’s book, Darwin’s Cathedral, tells the story several times of how Darwin was trying to puzzle out the strange geological strata at a dig in Wales. Years later, he was introduced to the theory of glaciation and immediately understood that was what he had been seeing at the dig. We need the theory to parse the information into knowledge. Incidentally, Wilson is doing a land office business as an “evolutionist” (up from “evolutionary biologist”). He and his students are re-running data from previous experiments through new theories and coming up with valuable insights. Supports your observation.

John Maloney October 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Hi – Yes, the current crop of social network services (SNS) are actually destinations, not services. That is the fatal flaw of them all. They are like the walled-cities of Europe. Suitable for a time, but structurally failed as people, culture and society transformed and evolved from slave, to serf, to subject, to citizen and, eventually, to individual.

All social media, services, data, platforms and applications will eventually be a ‘dial-tone.’ It will be like RFC 821 (1982) the first pervasive email protocol (API standard). This enabled hundreds of bespoke email clients applications to inter-operate and debuted the era of social computing.

Today’s social media dial tone is the API. Thousands of API enable the creation of continuous social computing innovation. The ‘Hot APIs’ today are Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google, Maps, Flickr, LinkedIn and so forth. They enable perpetual, innovative social mashups delivering profound customer experiences. See –

Remember, personalized social computing portals have been around for decades. They vary in their degree of freedom to adjust and adapt. Vast libraries of API-facing widgets propel robust customer-focused experiences. My Yahoo! is a current example.

All your observations are correct, valid and worthwhile. It is all a matter of degree. As the saying goes, “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.” (Gibson)

As observed, today’s social media ‘walled cities’ puts us, the users, somewhere right between slaves and serfs. Zuckerberg happens to be today’s lord of the manor. It won’t last.


Rob Gordon October 19, 2011 at 2:06 am

Actually, it doesn’t sound a thing like Google+ – and I am a heavy user there with about 6000 follower. As I was reading this I was thinking – he’s right, too bad Google+ isn’t like this. How on earth did you reach this conclusion?

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: