Who Are You? – October 30th

by admin on October 30th, 2009

Who are you? Are you always the same person? How about when you talk to the loan manager at the bank, or your spinning teacher at the gym, or your kids at the dinner table, or your boss at the staff meeting?  Do you act consistently the same at all times and in all situations? As I read some of my favorite authors’ prognostication about the future of social media, I’m having a really hard time swallowing the idea that what we all want is to carry our exact same identity, unaltered, from network to network to network. 

Global climate change seems a lot more real to me than the social media revolution. What affects you most will differ from person to person, but I’m most excited about social entrepreneurship, green technologies, and sustainability. For some people “social capital” is what you build up on networks in order to get ahead. But I’m more interested in the “social capital” that changes the planet.

Life is unfair! Despite the fact that technology is racing madly forward, promising us greater democracy, personalization and control, the underlying principles of organization still exist. That’s why market leaders like Facebook can continue to fiddle around with their interface in ways that annoy users, with little repercussion other than tongue-wagging by pundits. Like Henry Ford so famously said over 100 years ago, “You can buy the Model T in any color you like, so long as it’s black.” And then proceeded to sell 10 million of them.

Econ 101 revisited. Not long ago, Jeremiah Owyang (whom I adore) wrote “As social networks become the repository for identities and relationships, they’ll become more powerful than corporate Web sites and CRM systems.” If I ever get to meet J.O., I’m going to ask him — where does he buy groceries? or clothes? or gas for the car? Who holds his mortgage? Provides his health insurance?  Chances are, it’s huge corporations.  It takes a lot of capital to run a business, and so I’m going to need a little convincing that electronic-based social networks are suddenly going to turn economics on its head.

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