A recent set of articles from some of my favorite publications- the Wall Street Journal and from the Economist have me scratching my head and saying- how is it that such brilliant writers are totally missing the point of the phenomena happening with social networking… WAKE UP! First let’s see what they are saying… The Economist’s article “There’s less to Facebook and other social networks than meets the eye” states:
The first was its decision to let outsiders write programs and keep all the advertising revenues these might earn. This has led to all kinds of widgets, from the useful (comparing Facebookers’ music and film tastes, say) to the inane (biting each other to become virtual zombies). The entire internet industry reckons this was clever and is planning to copy it. This week MySpace said it would open its site to outside programmers. Google, which owns Orkut, a social network extremely popular in Brazil and parts of Asia, is expected to do the same soon. Facebook’s second masterstroke is its “mini-feed”, an event stream on user pages that keeps users abreast of what their friends are doing—uploading photos, adding a widget and so on.
Well they are half correct… but please wake up… although it might be “socially” helpful to “compare music and film taste” organizations and entrepreneurs AND THE BUSINESS PRESS needs to wake up to the real power of what is happening- social networking is allowing for completely new production models- ways of getting work done- to emerge. I am surprised that as of yet business leading (and some of my favorite) publications don’t get it yet. Here is a link to the Wall Street Journal, where they too, miss the point, comparing Geocities to Facebook. Although the cautionary tale of Geocities getting bought by Yahoo might be helpful to understanding a bit of how a startup with promising technology was limited by the acquiring company (Yahoo), directly comparing Geocities to Facebook misses the big points of how Facebook is creating a new innovation opportunity- a new way of getting work done. There is a parallel- but the parallel stops with an actual feature comparison, which Marc Andreeson points out on his blog. Yet, Marc Andreeson misses the point that I am pointing to- that the real opportunity is not a feature by feature comparison- but that Facebook has opened up a whole new opportunity- that I am certain entrepreneurs will exploit in the future- Social networking, with the invention of the social graph- (a way to be connected to your contacts and friends) and the “mini-feed” is going to open up a whole new way of working together. Individuals will be able to coordinate with each other much more deftly than they can today with limited project management tools and email. Watch as this new future, based around social networking technology, disrupts much larger organizations, where “packs” of entrepreneurs are able to take on much larger bureaucratic organizations, coordinate their actions, innovate faster. At Enterprise Teaming, we and our business partners are building the social architecture (not just software!) to usher in these new ways of entrepreneurs working together.
Please do let me know how you are using social networking technology to innovate in your startups and organizations… but please, stretch the technology beyond just sharing photos!
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