The human network is drawn to people, organizations and things that answer the question of why. Why represents the pursuit of answers for what reason, cause, or purpose. Given an understanding of what is the reason, cause or purpose the human network can determine whether other people, an organization or a thing identifies with the human soul, purpose.
When organizations use social media then they must consider the impending impact of “social” on their purpose and the purpose of the people they intend on serving. The problem is most organizations do not know their true purpose. Profit is not a purpose rather it is an outcome.
When companies think of social media, they hope to get consumers to “like” them or “fan” them, as if that increased connection is meaningful. That captures the marketing aspect but completely misses the strategic point which is creating an identity to human purpose. Unless your organization can create a meaningful identity with the human purpose then your identity has no purpose to the human network. Read that last sentence again slow.
An Identity of Purpose
Nilofer Merchant new book “11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era” says: An identity that unites people most is a shared value or purpose. When consumers “love” Apple, they are saying they love great design and the shared idea that “thinking differently” is valuable. By “loving” Firefox, the Web community is saying that it believes an open Web browser is valuable to the world. By loving TEDx, a volunteer army of people is saying it believes that smart ideas that get people to think more about their world is a cause worth putting energy into.
Collaborating with people through social purpose creates advantage because it allows everyone to work toward shared goals. When people know the purpose of an organization, they don’t need to check in or get permission to take the next step; they just create value. When people know the purpose, they are not waiting to be told what to do. With social purpose, alignment happens without coordination costs.
Social purpose is a fundamental way to create value in the Social Era.
These shifts mean that, in the Social Era, we have the ability to reconstitute value. If you believe that purpose answers the most compelling human questions then you might reconsider why you are in business and what does your business mean to the human purpose. Otherwise the human network will be unable to relate and engage purposely. Get it?