#SM4Biz liveblog 1: the Age of Reason

Oxygen – a great combination of gases for sustaining life as we know it. Social media – a useful collection of tools to aid your business. Yes, stating the bleeding obvious as though it were a revelation. Yet there is a gig, and I am blogging from it. When we have finished talking about everything else on social media, we can talk about social media. And while contemplating using social media for business can seem like wearing your favourite jeans to the office on a Tuesday, it is rather a fact of life. Like oxygen.

First up, as its essentially his conference, is Dr Nigel Oseland (@oseland), independent poacher turned corporate poacher – “a bit old skool” in his own words, the subject of his intro “the psychology of social media” reflected in his exponentially expanding collection of online personalities and brands.

My biggest problem with typologies is that in our desire to ascribe meaning, we trivialise instead. The recent mindnumbing flurry of excitement (really) at the “discovery” that introverts might not like open plan offices typifies our staggering from one stepping stone to another when actually the stream is only three inches deep and is quite refreshing. Being a social scientist, Nigel did what all social scientists do and posted a survey, because that’s about the only place social scientists are allowed to get any data from. What does it all mean? It means that online, it probably doesn’t matter.

Su Butcher (@SuButcher) is statistically about half of social media. She’s as interested in concrete as Daddy Pig – which is, very. As social media is about social (conversation) and content (subject matter), its about people. And of course the Doors were right. But in a world of b2b referral, property and construction need social media, whether they like it or not. Which its finally starting to like.

If you ever wondered about the science of social, even without a survey, then enter the world of social objects, status updates, platforms, “the viral” and SEO – the stuff that could itself have given rise to the complex adaptive system, if it didn’t spawn social media in the first place. The potential reach at our disposal via social is daunting enough, but when Su charts it for us it looks more frighteningly possible still. It may look and feel simple, but its technical – easy to goof, hard to do it well.

Paul Wilkinson (@EEPaul) goes back to 51BC and Cicero for an early example of social media – papyrus passed across the lands around the Mediterranean with commentary added as they travelled. Huzzah, Paul is talking blogging, but sidesteps the wonderful and immortal phrase “writing ourselves into existence”. There are 400m blogs out there, apparently – 250m on tumblr and WordPress alone. And I thought this was special. Apparently 86% of influencers blog, so one wonders how the other 14% manage to remain influential. Its all great stuff, but might have focussed a little more on the why rather than the how and what. If we don’t feel a compelling reason or desire, it doesn’t matter how technically able we might be, we just won’t.

And its 11.15am before the first mention of Google+ – surprisingly early, one might say. With that, the age of reason passed.

2 thoughts on “#SM4Biz liveblog 1: the Age of Reason

  1. Neil – insigthful and pithy as ever, one wonders when we can have a truly focused conversation on the shift to Adaptive systems? I agree that we also need a lot more focus on the WHY – only then can we reach true understanding.

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