What You Need to Know
Technically, “social media” refers to any website where visitors create and share content with one another. “Social” relates to the act of sharing, not the type of content. And individuals have an 18-24 month head start over companies in their adoption curve of social media.
So yes, this is a very big deal.
Background & Numbers
Around the beginning of the fourteenth century, European merchants found their cities installing clocks that chimed the hour. This may have seemed frivolous, since churches already had bell-ringers tolling the hours by hand. The revolutionary part of this was that it gave merchants a way to bypass the church.
In 1455, Gutenberg’s Bible rolled off a printing press. This may have seemed frivolous, since monks were already writing bibles by hand. The revolutionary part of this was that it gave the masses a way to bypass society’s well-read elite.
Today, social media makes our connections to one another transparent. It may seem frivolous, since people already have professional and personal networks. The revolutionary part of this is that it gives workers a way to bypass corporate hierarchies and departments.
Human beings are ready for this. Our brains have evolved, literally, into networking machines. Which is why this revolution is happening fast and furious:
- LinkedIn’s membership draws in an aggregate salary of $10,6 trillion.
- Facebook’s population (750 million members) would make it the 3rd largest nation in the world.
- YouTube sees more than 48 hours of video uploaded every minute.
- Google+ picked up 10 million members in 16 days.
Can you force people to remain beholden to your organizational structure? I wouldn’t bet on it. Social media has shown itself able to bring down military dictatorships. It’s the printing press and clocks all over again, just faster and more intense.
- Wayne Gretzky said his success rested on his ability to skate to where the puck was heading next. There is no mystery about where the puck is heading It’s not good leadership to brush off social media with a witty one-liner. Get to where the puck is heading next.
- Take your leadership team with you. This revolution will play out over the next 1-2 decades. You will live to see it through. To delegate responsibility for social media to sub-department within marketing is to condemn your leadership team to the past. Don’t do that. Give social media executive sponsorship.
- Get your LinkedIn profile set up.
Beginning next week, we’ll look again at what to do and how to do it to get onto the right side of the connection revolution.
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.