Crossing The Social Chasm

by Jay Deragon on 10/24/2012

There are those who believe that social technology represents a shift in thinking. Then there are those who believe this thing we call social media is merely an extension of marketing.

The difference between the two beliefs represents the “social chasm“. The “social chasm” represents the pronounced difference of opinion, interests, and loyalty to an idea or belief. The challenge is helping leaders “cross the social chasm” is to convince them to believe in something they don’t understand.

The problem is business leaders are trained to believe in results driven old business models and not ideas that drive results.

Crossing the Social Chasm

Since the markets are influenced by old business models everyone is trying to fit social media into those old models. Old business models are held captive by old belief systems.  The chasm in beliefs between the old and the new represents constraints that limit people from achieving satisfaction through innovation.

Strategic development has historically looked at external factors of competitiveness and internal capabilities as part of the strategic formulation process.  Why would you try to form a strategy without addressing internal and external beliefs? How can you envision something of value if your visions are stuck in old business models or the wrong beliefs? You can execute all day long but if execution are aimed at chasing the wrong things for the wrong reason then the odds for success are slim to none.

Few see the influence of social technology, notice we didn’t say social media, as a shift in business philosophy. Old business models are grounded in old beliefs. New business models are emerging and reflecting a new belief. The new belief is that the “voice of the people” represent the desires of the marketplace and the voices are no longer contained within corporate walls and controlled by what the corporation says. The people have known forever that their beliefs are different from the corporation’s beliefs and they have kept their opinions to the few. Now the people are sharing their frustrations, experiences and related beliefs with the many.

Crossing the social chasm is no longer a compromise for the people rather a needed shift in beliefs of the corporation. If your business doesn’t cross the social chasm then you are saying you don’t understand nor believe what the market believes.  Have you ever had success in a relationship of opposing beliefs?

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