Banging Your Head Against The Social Wall

by Jay Deragon on 10/10/2012

Many organizations have adopted”social” as a marketing program, rather than an organizational strategy. All that does is irritate those who view social as a way to think rather than something to do.

Like the rising temperature of the water the proverbial frog is sitting in, organizations are feeling the social era all around them, but failing to notice how significant a change it has produced. Because it has shown up in bits and pieces, via freemium models, crowdsourcing, online communities, virtual workforces, social networks, and so on, it is easy to miss how much the overall context has changed for the way value is created.

You might notice that I have used the term social era. It’s not to create more jargon, it’s to emphasize a point: that social is more than the stuff the marketing team deals with. It’s something that allows organizations to do things entirely differently — if we let it become the backbone of our business models.

The reality is more like this: The world has changed; how we create value has changed. Organizationally we have not. It will be wholly insufficient to put the word “social” in front of existing business models and expect things to change. Instead, we need to imagine the fundamental enterprise anew for the social era. Lean, adaptive, community-driven organizations, built for speed, will thrive. via Nilofer Merchant: Rules for the Social Era 

The Social Wall Is In Your Head

It is kind of ironic that something that represents a significant philosophical shift is being used to propagate old beliefs and business models.  Those that understand the philosophical shift quickly and learn how to react to market changes faster, more fluid and with flexibility. While those that don’t keep banging their heads against the “social wall” believing that if they use social as the means to keep doing what they’ve always done they’ll get more than they previously got.

Banging your head against the social wall is a metaphor for using social as a marketing means and expecting the market to believe in the value you create.  In philosophy, the term means to an end refers to any action (the means) carried out for the sole purpose of achieving something else. The social philosophy means learning to think differently about how to create more value for the human network.  That is significantly different than simply increasing the velocity of marketing messages.


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