It's Not Really a Network - by John Sumser - HRExaminer

The most important thing that people are about to remember is that face to face encounters trump everything.

We are at the edges of the second generation of social media. Much of the original hype has been tested and found wanting. It turns out that we don’t really like seeing job ads in the middle of the flow of descriptions of last night’s burritos. It seems like we don’t really want to flood our personal brag-a-thons with the story of our struggle to find meaning and work. We are not really the company’s solution to its staffing problems nor are we our friends’ gateway to work.

We like each other better when there’s less pressure to be commercial.

So, what does phase 2 look like?

  • The most important thing that people are about to remember is that face to face encounters trump everything. Personal video, which has played a tiny role in contemporary social networks, will emerge as a central feature. That will be facilitated by tools that can read video to create and index transcripts. (Saygent Technology is doing interesting things with the audio portion of this question.)
  • Expect at least some of the hype to soften. Social Media and its related tools are not a panacea. They are a new always-on messaging infrastructure that allows us to understand and quantify what used to be hard to quantify. That we will communicate status periodically is a given. How that evolves is much less clear. Customers are going to tire of claims that are not delivered. Vendors who act like partners will be rewarded. Customers who understand that partnership involves risk sharing will be rewarded.
  • Successful users, individuals and organizations, will have an experimental attitude and the resources with which to experiment. Like Thomas Edison, who tried 3,000 theories before solving the lightbulb filament problem, competitive advantage will accrue to those who are willing to stick it out.
  • Transparency is contagious and unstoppable. The next generation will involve increasing numbers of sensors that help us understand a kajillion things that were never measured before. The importance of mobile may not be for content reception. Rather, it will be the greatest source of input for spot reviews and very brief data inputs.
  • Physical get togethers will be more tightly integrated into the overall social media structure. If you haven’t taken a close look at the MeetUp movement, amazing things are happening. Networking involves people talking and listening to each other. So far, the vast majority of online networking involves broadcasting.
  • The massive quantities of data we are generating will look like trickles before the deluge. Deciding what and how much of your datastream to expose will be the next frontier in personal branding.
  • The world will look back at today’s notions of gamification and say, “Really, a badge for reading the news on Google? and a badge for turning in your expense report? That was supposed to do what?” Meanwhile, the hordes of people who have disciplined their personal creativity by playing advanced online games in community will have received the necessary training (from playing) to build the sorts of interactive communities that make talent pools a great place to hang out.

It’s not that social media is over. Rather, it’s just another way to communicate, one of many.

The “everything is a network” phase will be followed by something simultaneously more realistic and impossible to imagine.

Read previous post:
HRExaminer v.3.15

HR Examiner Weekly Edition v 3.15 April 13, 2012 Is Weight Discrimination OK? As a business owner, I depend on...