Social Networking, blogging, Web 2.0 sites and mobile services have made some of us addicts for hyper-connectedness. Is this the end of humankind’s attention span? What does it mean for business at large and more importantly for our own businesses? We are all aware that we should be utilising it in some form or another and that it is becoming more prevalent but what exactly should we be addressing?
The latest social media site to appear is Facebook – the site that could well be described as Friends-Reunited-meets-MySpace-meets-Google.
Facebook wants to “create the most effective networking service in the world.” I wish them well. But they are going to have to join the queue.
I’m already on Twitter, Pownce, StumbleUponm, Digg and any number of other unpronounceable services. Hyper-connectedness is a diverting pastime.
Online networking / dating / Friends-Reunited-nostalgia-hunting, whatever you want to call it, is clearly of huge fascination to people. Why? Because people are interested in people. It’s in our DNA.
The Web has managed to revolutionise a number of areas since its invention, and to some at least, online networking looks set to be the next big thing. There are high hopes for its role in re-connecting communities, atomised by the modern destruction of the nuclear family and a mobile population.
But from a business perspective, social networking sometimes seems more like a solution in search of a problem.
LinkedIn.com, for instance, could eventually be a subscription service allowing users to input and manage their contacts and to search for connections – but it is already feeling the heat from Facebook. Will Facebook (and other forms of social media) become appropriate use for enterprise and business?
A few years ago it was bloggers who were going to change the nature of business, not only by blowing the whistle on marketing campaigns for bad products but also changing business processes internally as “digital natives” started to enter the enterprise.
Now it’s all about social networking. Many business people hooked into LinkedIn in the past. But now I’m sure you’ll find many of your contacts on Facebook too. What effect is this going to have on business internally and externally?
The Daily Telegraph recently reported that “More than two thirds of employers are banning or restricting the use of Facebook and similar sites over fears that staff are wasting time on them when they should be working, a survey found… A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said staff were not allowed to use social networking sites at work.” You only have to check the number of Credit Suisse and Dresdner Kleinwort to see there are multiple active groups under those names.
Part of the reason Facebook has seen so much success is that it collects all of the best features of the Web, wraps a social network around it, and provides a turnkey solution. It’s better in many ways, but when you make it easy, you realise just how much “stuff” there is out there.
But Facebook and the like are just the tip of the ice-burg. The Web 2.0 game is not over yet and is poised to flip into a new era. Some call this Web 3.0, but it would be better described as “Internet 3.0” where the Web, TV, mobile and virtual worlds like Second Life collide and mashup to produce wholly different entities.
That’s why I’m an addict. And, to take a leaf out of Amy Winehouse’s book, I won’t be going into re-hab any time soon.