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The unifying theory of communications: Sustain us

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unifying theoryWhen less is simply less 

Look at Earth, hanging in space, alone in darkness. After you’re done admiring the beauty of what you see, you can’t help but think, on some level:

Will we be able to sustain such a hurtling jewel?

What if we looked at communications in that context?

Sometimes communications are used in less-than-best practice.

Infographics are great. They convey information quickly. They’re on everybody’s lips.

But infographics can mislead. When infographics are over-tasked with carrying the thrust of a message alone, they fail.

Communications is about integration: a unification of channels. It’s about sustaining brilliance, about sustaining best practice.

Shaping a story

Some creatives can do graphics with great impact and shape a great story. It depends on the strategy behind the message. Infographics are brilliant tools, but success is in how infographics are used.

Words have built empires. There is no escaping our need for information. As we move into any subject, we want deeper information.

We live in a world where our communications race forward into space. Connectivity. Speed. Data blasting forward. It’s all tough to process.

Infographics are everywhere. They provide snapshots of almost anything you can imagine. Done well, they are useful, but …

How deep are some really?

The shallow end: Don’t use audiences when using data

Go out and search. You will doubtless find an infographic on what you’re looking for. Now, look for the source.

Where did the information come from?

Some infographics don’t reference where the research for the data comes from. They tell a story, but if the story’s fiction, consider its value.

Organizations have objectives. If data and infographics are used to mislead, you risk credibility.

In our race to process information, to relay information, to demonstrate concepts to people more easily, more accessibly, without demanding too much of the beleaguered audience or public, we sometimes forget to look into where the research for the data comes from.

Who did the research? If we don’t know … Are we setting up our audience, and so, ourselves for disappointment?

In these days of content curation, we still have to be conscious of where data comes from, and its interpretation. That can be difficult. Speed is of the essence.

Even the research process itself has come under repeated analysis. There have been a number of papers criticizing peer review. Often, the conclusion is, peer review may be imperfect, but it’s still the best thing we’ve got.

Questions, questions: Ask some questions

At the very least, we should ask questions about what research seems to demonstrate. We live in a time of rapid change.

Since Einstein, and beyond, we’ve learned that things are relative. We may like slow cooking, but we still have priorities related to “getting things done”. In a historical context, Einstein did pretty well without all the technology we have at our disposal today.

Take research on phones. As one of the largest manufacturers of phones used to advise us: Think different. A recent study suggested a few things about different phone manufacturers. One idea was that the wealthy / intelligent buy a certain model of phone.

What’s being suggested here? That the phone makes you wealthy or intelligent?

Let’s ask some questions: What types of phones are we talking about? Does one brand sell a greater variety of phones across a broader spectrum within a broader price range? (For example, if wealth determines intelligence, then obviously Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are smarter than Steve Jobs was.)

Which company focuses on the high-end? If a product costs more, it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that the wealthy might buy that product.

Sheep or deep?

Questions can start to reveal bias or data manipulation. There’s a difference between interpretation and distortion of data. Insights have to be as deep as the data.

None of us are perfect, but If we use data with less-than-best-practice, doesn’t it reflect our opinion of our target audience? Our publics?

Is there an element of danger in such a strategy? How do people feel when there’s a massive pullback in a company’s stock? When IPOs and exchanges are held up as parlayers of bad practice?

Researching media reports after such errors in judgement – more often labelled as “debacles” in the media – provide clear evidence. No management team wants to see its name lit up in a reputational example of bad practice.

Need more evidence? Take a look at questions asked about the U.S. government’s reputation following the Merkel phone-tapping.

The complications involved in communicating, and various organizational debacles, are bound to affect brand and reputation. Do consumers want to know we’re burying poor references to our brands in cyberspace, or, that:

  • We’re addressing issues from stakeholders
  • Opening a channel of dialogue
  • Working hard to improve our organizations

and,

  • Willing to listen to feedback that provides insight?

Daniel Libeskind and David Chipperfield discuss why architecture is collaborative and is a form of communication. Any new building is bound to cause controversy like any great new idea. The discussion is the thing.

Flip the agenda on its head

Some believe that in a world where our communications burn across media at a faster and faster pace, the potential for backlash is vastly accelerated. But isn’t it important to consider that people are also getting more discerning? Aren’t people looking for something to believe in?

Aren’t we building a form of architecture when we reach out to talk to publics and audiences? Aren’t we better off building a foundation that lasts?

Isn’t there opportunity here? And if you’re not involved in the discussion, not seated at the table, digitally, with your publics, then, who is?

If you’re not dealing with stakeholders’ trust issues, then who is?

Won’t integrity stand out?

Peter Lynch and Warren Buffett have been cited for discussing how a company’s focus on how to spend its money (read: not spending outlandish amounts on offices, furniture, etc.) shows a competitive edge in these companies, especially for the shareholder. Does this frugality on the part of management mean that the managements of these companies aren’t intelligent?

Warren Buffett still lives in a modest house. Is he less intelligent for doing this?

Meanwhile, some companies spend a great deal on their employees including training and R&D to help stimulate creativity, engagement and innovation.

Is there more than one way to get to an outcome? In fact, is the construction of outcomes liquid? In constant flux?

A river flows out to the sea, but the way the water gets to the sea is epic. It’s a story of flow, of perpetual change. It’s the story of nature’s architecture.

A discerning audience is able to deconstruct what it sees. New York has taken steps to protect consumers from fake reviews. Is it really sound to imagine that there are no customers that have ever considered that these kinds of bad practices are going on?

Smart competitors will create smart campaigns centred around companies’ branding. Clever advertising is full of examples of a brand’s position being reframed – even if you’re reframing the idea that consumers of that brand are “creative”.

If an infographic misleads, does it take your audience where you want to go ultimately?

Information in infographics absent best practice, can mislead. What can it do to a brand?

Data can be used in a self-perpetuating, self-aggrandizing way to rationalize, what? That a product makes us look smarter? Makes us superior to others because we spend more on it?

Publics are going to change as fast as the media that bombard them. Appealing to customers will be an act of ultimate creativity. Some will do it brilliantly. Others are going to be remembered for compromising their ethics.

Customers, more than ever, want organizations that walk the talk.

Even if an organization mounts a comeback related to a major stumble, followed by negative media coverage, wouldn’t it have been better to follow a sustainable path of best practice in the first place? Wouldn’t it have been better not to suffer the reputational damage – to have more consistent growth?

Isn’t this why business schools hold ethics classes? Why reputation and trust factor large in polls? Why the Warren Buffetts of the world focus on the long-term rather than the short-term?

Are we telling stakeholders that all of this is mere lip service? Do we want to build our communications architecture like a house of cards?

Consider smartphone advertising, public relations and marketing. Just this sector is full of (depending on your opinion and metrics) winners, winners who became losers, organizational wrestling with public perception of privacy issues, the rapid pace of technological change, intense competition, shrinking margins, hype, hubris and successes that are hard to maintain.

Looking for a bullet-proof suit? It exists in best practice. The structure that sustains is the structure than can be built on.

Privacy, hacktivists and change giving birth to change

What of privacy? How much are people willing to give away? With social media, many of us are more visible, willingly, but there’s still constant debate about what amount of social media exposure is healthy. We do that regarding television, and electronics generally, too.

Hacktivists seem to be playing a major role in our public perception of networks, our personal, societal and corporate treatment of information.

Doubtless, security plays in the minds of our publics even as they increasingly give more of their information away. Security issues could impact dramatically on collaboration and information exchange, but innovation depends on such exchange.

Multiple security issues can change perception about services. New perceptions create new realities.

Many in the media and related professions and organizations are trying to appeal to their audiences. We could go on and on asking questions: The pace of change is making us move from what we are, are becoming and will be. It’s a never-ending cycle of change.

Change begets change.

Audiences and publics are undergoing ferocious transformation, and they will undergo all manner of metamorphoses as they absorb their new universes.

The portals are everywhere

In our hands. In our pockets. On our desks.

Portals. Everywhere.

Our world has become worlds. Some of us are spending as much time in virtual worlds as in real ones. Since the advent of screens and all their permutations, we’ve gained new devices offering  portable portals.

Some won’t care. Others will constantly jump on the “new”, but the reality is, sustainability of anything, idea, product, service, depends on growth. But what kind of growth?

Integration and ethics: The song that remains, sustains

Infographics work best in an integrated communications plan. They are a great tool when used wisely. Today, the way you reach out has to have a long-term focus. There may be short-term tactics, but they have to rationalize with a long-term vision. Content is everywhere, so, creators of content need to work together to move mountains.

Eventually, you have to bring people somewhere where they access deep, meaningful research or information. While short pieces are the rage for grabbing views, leading audiences to deep information increases credibility. That, in itself, is the message.

Fluff eventually blows away. Substance is permanent. A well-built foundation upholds a structure.

Unethical manipulation of public trust, of audiences, can only end badly. Look at the U.S. and world stock markets as an example. It’s only this year that retail investors have come back.  If people hold great and enduring mistrust against the stock markets, what will the impact be on innovation, societal development and wealth creation?

The great thing about asking questions is it can help you formulate long-term strategy. In a world where you want to be aware of weaknesses and threats against your organization, your society on a small and large scale, you have to focus on ways to create opportunity that resonate for the long-term. (This should be in our DNA. It’s the double helix of a virtual spiral.)

We’ve all heard pop songs that are one-hit wonders, but there are some songs that sustain us, and in turn, we sustain them.  Quality endures. We make sure of it.

In a world of change, where there are so many one-hit wonders, songs that remain sustain.

Image source: Flickr/Ted Kendell

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N.B.: When it comes to integrated communications, here are three excellent key messages:

canada digital in sync

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Statistics on companies’ and nonprofits’ use of public relations resources and budgets [Study]

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microphoneA recent study on how much corporations and nonprofits spend on public relations staff, press release services, outside public relations firms, digital and print-related public relations and other areas of public relations shed some light on practices within the industry.

Amongst the highlights in the report:

Some results weren’t surprising including those showing that publishing and media companies dominated the issuing of news releases.

  • Publishing and media companies issued the most press releases, 150 on average, while finance and business services companies issued the fewest, a mean of 29.4
  • Companies spent a mean of $53,404 on outside news release services, including email and print distribution, database and list provision service and editorial help, in 2012-13 thus far

Two companies dominated news release services:

  • 45 per cent of companies in the sample have used BusinessWire for  news release services
  • 44 per cent of organizations with annual revenue between $50 million and $250 million have used PR Web

While it may not be a surprise that all of the healthcare-related companies and 75 per cent of the manufacturers sampled had a separate public relations budget, it may surprise some that:

  • 57 per cent of nonprofit companies have a separate public relations budget
  • 40 per cent of the manufacturers and 36 per cent of the nonprofits in the sample use Vimeo in their public relations efforts

Social media continues to make strides into PR departments, with:

  • 35 per cent of company PR departments tweeting multiple times per day
  • 41 per cent of organizations considered the use of LinkedIn as critical to their public relations efforts

Conferences and conference appearances absorbed:

  • A mean of 14 per cent of their staff

Scale, as one might think, considering larger organizations ability to integrate more channels, means more use of video and webcasts:

  • 83 per cent of companies with over $2 billion in revenue in the sample maintain one or more repositories or databases of video, podcasts and/or webcasts about the company’s products that can be used for marketing and public relations purposes

In financial and business services, companies spent:

  • A mean of $47,500 on public relations firms and consultants in the past year

If you’re interested in more information related to the study, contact Primary Research Group.

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Written by johnrondina

June 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

To the letter: How board letters can speak to stakeholders

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typeDeal with the issues before the issues you didn’t deal with become the issue

One of the most contentious issues for stakeholders is executive compensation. Prudential Financial is doing things right according to Laura Rittenhouse and Amanda Gerut. Prudential took on the subject of executive compensation, and changes they made to compensation.

Prudential board lead independent director, James Cullen, sent a letter to shareholders adding to the board’s letter. A simple step forward most companies don’t do.

Cullen talks about how his role fits into the board’s agenda, and how he works as a go-between for board chairman and independent directors.

Truth and its affect on stakeholders

In a world where too many stakeholders see less than best practices used in IPOs, the marketing of hot products and coverage of business generally, truth in investor communications makes investors take notice. Warren Buffett says, speaking on behalf of Berkshire Hathaway:

… as a company with a major communications business, it would be inexcusable for us to apply lesser standards of accuracy, balance and incisiveness when reporting on ourselves than we would expect our news people to apply when reporting on others … The CEO who misleads others in public may eventually mislead himself in private.

Buffett’s philosophy stands out:

  • Go beyond what’s required
  • Report what’s most beneficial to stakeholders
  • Focus on what’s best in the long-term for your organization and  reputation

Truth builds trust. Trust between companies and stakeholders is one of the most important aspects of business communications today. It’s important because of how trust has declined since the financial crisis.

Truth and building trust are the right things to do. A simple Google search on “investors” and “executive compensation” turns up too many companies having faced or facing stakeholder ire. Amidst the new investor activism, Rittenhouse lauds Prudential’s focus on compensation and sees it as much more than just lip service.

Letters to the board are an excellent tool for engaging disenchanted investors.

Leading by being

Allstate went further this year. Its board letter pointed out specific pages in its proxy explaining performance stock awards and CEO compensation.

Compensation and governance: an area where many fear to tread. But companies who deal with these issues don’t only look like thought leaders – they are thought leaders.

In 2011, Allstate’s say-on-pay result was about 57 per cent. Tom Wilson, CEO and chairman, along with company management teams, engaged with institutional investors after the 2011 meeting. The board then included a letter to shareholders in the annual report and proxy package.

Allstate got an enormous vote of confidence: 92 per cent support from investors in the next annual say-on-pay vote.

What I think is ideal is going from reading these letters to seeing how governance translates into performance and strategic execution at the company …

Laura Rittenhouse

Boards overseeing strategy and executive compensation: Greatest value add

Rittenhouse says board letters that engage stakeholders in how the the board is overseeing strategy and executive compensation have the greatest value add. Since investors are often most concerned about these areas, it’s clear they should take prominence, and:

  • Reflect a strategy where truth in communications is important
  • Uphold and enhance organizational reputation through actively listening to what is most important to stakeholders and acting on those issues

Action without listening looks a lot like obfuscation to stakeholders. Listening and then acting strategically reflects serious thought leadership.

Focusing on short-term gain too often leads to long-term pain. You can talk about leadership ad infinitum, but actually leading resonates with stakeholders. Win someone’s trust and you win someone’s heart.

If this sounds too touchy-feely, consider the touch and feel of being perceived as an organization that doesn’t tell the truth. Consider the effect on your brand, performance and reputation.

As Buffett and Rittenhouse point out, deceiving stakeholders is deceiving yourself. Informing stakeholders speaks to your ability to strategize and perform.

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To the letter: How truth speaks to stakeholders

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Technological change is blasting us forward and continues to solidify the role reputation and trust play for typeorganizations of all kinds. Even some news organizations, entities multiple stakeholders look to for unbiased information, can succumb to what is less than best practice.

According to Gallup, distrust in the media has hit a new high, with 60 per cent saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. Pew found almost “one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to”.

In the New York Law Journal, 2009 was referred to as “the Year of Investor Anger”. FAIR Canada published a report in 2011 called A Decade of Financial Scandals highlighting fraud as a problem and making recommendations for prevention, detection, prosecution and compensation. Edelman‘s recent study on trust revealed trust in banking and financial services has dropped 50 per cent even amongst global, informed publics.

Against this backdrop, where investors both small and institutional are looking for a return but also an investment they can believe in, Laura Rittenhouse looks beyond what is reported in most public companies’ financials. She looks for innovation in communications.

Rittenhouse writes about CEO communications. She focuses on strategy, culture and performance with the idea of truth key in her audits.

Truth as competitive advantage

Today, forward-thinking companies are embracing the opportunity to really “talk” to investors and other stakeholders. There’s so much noise surrounding annual general meetings and annual reports that investing in communicating regarding contentious issues pays dividends.

An organization that sees the light on corporate transparency thinks in a more holistic way. Organizations stepping forward to be thought leaders are creating best practice not rushing to engage in best practices because others have already set the agenda for them.

Truth in reporting is so obvious that it bears more focus. Sometimes, it’s the obvious issues that fall out of the cross hairs of what’s important for managements to do.

Richard Edelman notes how logic becomes oxymoron:

[CEOs demand] … less regulation while CEOs suggest that enforcement of the new regulations has restored trust; this is a baffling logic problem.

Yet this is part of the duality of the human being. Although we know what’s right, we don’t always do what’s right.

Anyone who doubts what negative sentiment or negative media attention can do when an organization is held up to pursue less than best practices, and what that can do to reputation, might want to take a look at what legislators are calling “egregious” and “outrageous” regarding Apple’s “web of tax shelters”.

[While other companies have taken advantage of loopholes,] … I’ve never seen anything like this, and we don’t know anybody who’s seen anything like this.

              — Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

Business culture suffers due to lack of transparency. The reputation of business is left to the media which will tend to focus on the worst rather than the best. The media plays a vital role in highlighting tremendous failures in business but it’s up to businesses that are engaging in innovative practices to tell their story.

Business needs to get better at communicating. Business needs to communicate true innovation and best practice. It may have been the best of times with respect to some companies, but the organizations that showed up most often in the wake of the financial crisis are the ones that reflect a “worst of times” operational execution.

In such an environment, companies operating in a forward-thinking manner will be best positioned to gain from stakeholders’ need for a positive story. While it’s important to reveal worst practices, corruption and other failings, there’s a decided human need for the positive, for the feel-good story wrapped in the long-term resilience of truth.

Rittenhouse is a big proponent of a new wave of letters from directors and boards. She feels it’s a “powerful opportunity” to make a statement about governance.

A letter may be traditional but it’s impact can be revolutionary. Truth is the revolution. Companies need to tell the truth not only for the advantages truth will bring from a long-term operational point of view, but because it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

 

Part Two: Why boards need to deal with the issues

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The galactic magical mystery tour

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Near-Earth Object

Coming soon through a portal in space near you

The tweeters guide to the galaxy (and beyond)

Every key message is a ride through a solar system. Every message is a galactic magical mystery tour. Every message is you.

Whether you are government, nonprofit, corporate, small business or just an individual, you can reach a digital world you couldn’t before.

The message

Messages leave their creators. They reach inside and outside of time and space. Messages create cosmologies.

Messages leave this plane and come back to it. They have huge orbits.

Some will collide with other bodies and become titanic. Others will fizzle and burn out on re-entry. Some will be lost in the cosmos.

Tools that convey messages are now more virtual than concrete. These tools are part of something bigger. Call it SocialMind.

Messages. They soar across space and time and land with great impact. They are digital comets and meteors. Asteroids.

What do they carry? What do they convey?

By surpassing writing, we have regained our wholeness, not on a national or cultural but cosmic plane.

— Marshall McLuhan

Near Earth Messages (NEMs)

Research has shown that water may have been brought to Earth by asteroids.

Asteroids may have played their part in creating us. The dinosaurs may have been destroyed by something hurtling toward and then impacting with Earth, but the ancestor(s) of that Near Earth Object (NEO) that came screaming toward Earth may have also created the dinosaurs. NEOs may have first brought life to Earth.

Our messages now hurl around us. The hope is that they land with impact. That they create something great.

Metaphors: How we tell our stories

There will always be stories to tell

Imagine you couldnetmulti see tweets blasting around.  Imagine they had tails like comets. While the tails of comets are created by melting ice, imagine that the tails of tweets are the lifetimes of messages.

Some tales are bigger than others. Some tales are mothers.

Many writers and speakers in the personal development field talk about why your targets should be big. Why not?

Shoot high. Shoot for the stars. Message the multiverse.

There will always be enough criticism around to pull you down. But some of this criticism will help you improve. That’s why we call it constructive. There’s a valuable place for contrarian thinking. Brain trusts are built on the strength of voices in collaboration.

We won’t always agree, but we will get to a solution, and that solution will be better for the analysis that gave birth to it.

Imagine tweets as the creation of new cosmologies. Mothers that give birth. New worlds. Worlds within worlds. Ideas. Stories.

Going far out …

We want to go far out. Humankind crawled up onto the sands of some primordial beach in a time before mechanical clock faces. The only mechanism for measuring time was the sun. We crawled forward and transformed into cave-dwellers, hunter-gatherers. Inevitably, we pushed.

Antonioni, the great filmmaker, called “cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age” said he looked toward a highly industrial landscape and saw something human there. While human activity can sometimes leave us in despair, Antonioni saw, within industry, hope.*

The multiverse becomes a hive of industry

2 [mass noun] hard work:the kitchen became a hive of industry

— Oxford dictionary

Hope. While we struggle to achieve whatever we’re destined to become in the next hundred years, in the next thousand, what is absolutely undeniable, is that our ideas are circulating at the speed of light all around us at this moment.

And the next. And the next. And the next.

It’s not just in the next hundred years — it may be in the next hundred minutes. Or seconds.

Every second, 750 tweets hurtle by. Sixty-five million total tweets a day. What do they contain?

Some will criticize, especially what they deem as the more insipid tweets, but, isn’t that like saying books have no value because the medium was corrupted by a poor writer? Some will say tweets are affecting our psychology, dumbing us down with endless “top” lists, etc., but isn’t that absolving us of responsibility?

For every criticized use, for every negative effect, isn’t it up to us as human creators to discover a way to use a medium to benefit, to increase knowledge, to inspire?

Imagine an alien intelligence, light years beyond our technology. If such an intelligence looked at the messaging of this world, now, what would it think?

Would it marvel at the infancy of the creation of the digital technologies we are now beginning to harness, to understand and to use? Would it wonder at what we are bound to become?

For such an intelligence, would we hang in space like the totemic baby in 2001?

If the medium is the message, is the message still not the message, too?

The birthmark of an idea

Astronomical bodies crash together sometimes increasing their size. The medium doesn’t remove the impact.  The media increase the creative explosion that creates a lasting crater. The creative explosion is the birthmark of an idea so powerful that it can’t be contained.

… Coming back to Earth

Integrated messages create one hell of an impact crater.

And then life is born in the minds of many human beings. Ideas go like lifeforms into the minds of many people, they influence and then they change.

How will those people alter those messages? Will they create something new?

Some of these ideas will even be used to criticize social media.

Our understanding of messages, especially in the digital context, and the new social vehicles that carry the messages, and the next vehicles that will carry messages, is in its infancy.

We’re learning to listen, and we’re learning to talk. We’re growing up really fast.

What are we saying?

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The social multiverse at work?

A friend of mine sent me the following, startled at how similar the beginning of it was to my pieces on the social multiverse. Interesting …

How Twitter Is Reshaping The Future Of Storytelling http://www.fastcoexist.com

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*Red Desert [Criterion Collection] interview with Antonioni conducted by Jean-Luc Godard

Written by johnrondina

April 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Creators, travelling at the speed of light

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optoCommunications continue to hurtle forward.

At least, we’ve developed the capability to send data at 99.7% the speed of light, flying through previous speed and latency records.

In Digital at the speed of light: Who’s afraid of social media?, Social Media: A universe expanding at an incredible rate, and Social cosmology: Social media is creating its own multiverse, I blogged about how social is propelling us into the future. Social media, like any nascent technology, will have its successes and failures, but criticism sometimes misses the evolution in communication:

Speed.

It’s one big thing (there are others) that’s changed profoundly since the creation of the printing press.

Some criticize speed and new technologies. It’s good to consider where we’re going.

Will technology ever create us?

The way we live has always been impacted by disruptive technologies. Criticism of disruptive technologies is valid in that the pace of technological change is rampant and accelerating so fast that it’s almost impossible to know which tools will dominate in the long-term.

The long-term, the future, becomes the present. Social tools have already had tremendous impact. The future becomes the present faster and faster.

Some platforms will last and evolve even as they stake their claim for superiority, usefulness and usability. Criticizing technological change in communications is like criticizing the printing press. Necessary, but if we could jump hundreds of years into the future, the point might be moot.

The printing press was revolutionary. We know that. Every time I read a book, some kind of unconscious thanks travels from me to the ghost of Gutenburg and the ghosts of the Renaissance.

And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.

— Petrarch

Will a David ever sculpt itself?

We know what the printing press enabled. Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Tools are what enable us to realize our ideas. But the ideas are ours. Michelangelo may have said that his sculptures were imprisoned in marble, but the hammer didn’t pick itself up and begin to do the David on its own.

The printing press was revolutionary. The exchange of information it enabled, equally revolutionary. Education, for the literate, was changed forever. Literacy continues to be of prime importance today. Literacy separated what people could achieve. Often, it still does.

Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Despite how much we sometimes grow to love them. We are still the creators of  ideas and content. Even if we are conduits, as some describe the experience of creation, even if the sculpture is there, imprisoned in marble, we, like Michelangelo, hold and guide the tools. We wield the tools and they enable us to work in different media, in different contexts.

We are the creators. Tools are an extension of us.

Like a paintbrush. Like a hammer. Like a keyboard.

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Written by johnrondina

March 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Social Media: A universe expanding at an incredible rate

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superva

The more researchers study the social media space, the more value and productivity they find. Social media, enterprise media, hangs like the baby in Kubrick’s famous movie.

What does that baby represent?

A nascent technology evolving into something like a new consciousness. A metaphor for what we are becoming: SocialMind.

The collaborative expansion of knowledge-sharing for those who search becomes the competitive advantage of those who find. Creation is cosmology.

The cosmology of social media. The context of enterprise media.

Just as a focus on searching our galaxy and universe are uncovering astronomical and astrophysical discoveries day after day, so, too, are researchers finding a cosmology of the new enterprise. We are continuously looking for ways to leverage competitive advantage through new tools creating new holes in the fabric of old enterprise.

Theoretical physics in the shape of Higgs-boson, has shown us that we may exist in a multiverse. Our universe may be getting smaller as our knowledge goes beyond our stars.

The astronomy of the social media value add

McKinsey Global Institute’s research shows social media could unleash “value and productivity” through communication and collaboration that could add $1.3 trillion to the economy.

Most of this value would come through productivity:

  • 98 per cent of the value add would come through the professional services companies sector

Social media universe? Multiverse? Consider what companies like Oracle, Salesforce.com and Microsoft are doing:

  • Salesforce.com bought GoInstant and Buddy Media

Short-term damage done and enormous opportunity

These purchases indicate where enterprise companies are going. The Facebook IPO damaged the reputation of social media, but that’s in the short-term.

Why?

Because interactions workers have the highest spread of profits per employee. Because what companies saw as their business before the explosion of social technologies, is not what they see as their business now.

Not alone.

Evolving through holes in space:

Breaking through to the new business model

Companies are lookng through holes in space. They are looking to evolve. Disruptive technologies create as part of their process.

Organizations are going through wormholes. They are seeing other worlds. Their visions and strategies continue to develop as they embrace enterprise media to travel beyond their old business models.

Ask yourself:

Where do breakthroughs come from?

The companies mentioned above aren’t in the habit of following. They are leaders. Leaders in enterprise.

The future is social. The future is perpetual change.

In industries like banking, this will be huge. Make your most important capital, your people, more effective, and you will dramatically increase the profit spread per employee. Connected by the potential in social technologies, we communicate, we collaborate, we create our cosmologies of knowledge.

Nielsen recently found total time spent on social media (U.S., PCs and mobile) increased 37% to 121 billion minutes.

Nielsocmin

To touch the face of your audience

Banking and financial services clearly demonstrate the need for tools that can reach out and engage consumers with great immediacy. The financial crisis, multiple scandals including LIBOR, are all examples of ongoing media stories compounding the reputational damage to an industry full of hard-working, honest people.

With the financial crisis, we have seen the greatest business upheaval in most of our lifetimes. The need to reach out and engage with publics to restore trust is not an option. The bold step is a necessity.

Shock wave and rebirth

The reputational damage left after the financial crisis is a star going supernova, still spreading its shock wave. But supernovae created the building blocks of life.

Reaching out, engaging, informing publics that have been burned by an exploding star, and listening to them, is crucial.

Missing the potential in these channels will separate the forward-looking from the fearful. And more channels will be born.

Social media in the context of enterprise media is spreading its influence. It’s an explosion of tweets blasting through our collective consciousness. We are going beyond where we’ve gone before.

I am become social, the creator of worlds

We are the SocialMind

Organizations are touching the faces of audiences through ideas and channels that were once just concepts. Companies are communicating with their audiences as they exist in their own times and spaces through a cloud interface.

Through social technologies, we have become something different. We are the SocialMind.

We are the creators of worlds.

What kind of worlds will we create?

Our starships are enterprise media travelling at the speed of light within and without organizational planets and galaxies.

We are going beyond where we have gone before …

And we are all made of stars.

stars

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The social multiverse at work?

A friend of mine sent me the following, startled at how similar the beginning of it was to my pieces on the social multiverse. Interesting …

How Twitter Is Reshaping The Future Of Storytelling http://www.fastcoexist.com

Update: Here’s a great infographic on Social Media ROI.

Infographic: The ROI of Social Media
Infographic by MDG Advertising

Coming soon:

Universes. Multiverses. Messages. Creating social cosmologies.

More on social media? Find it here:
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