The Strange Loop of Social Business

Thesis 8: In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.

I probably shouldn’t be writing. Because I don’t want to write about the ways employees are speaking to each other, because it presumes that the employee class is a fixed permanence of the new economics.

So instead, I’m going to write about cats. Because everyone likes cats.

People do lots of talking about cats on the internet. In fact, there’s an entire #hastag dedicated to #Caturday. Sure, humans are sharing cats. And sharing cats is cool. So are bowties. But where is the meaning behind all the bowtie cats and angry cats and laugh out loud moments?

Cluetrain seems to think that it’s in the way we speak to each other, and I’ll grant that there’s even in this little circle of interlocutors a great deal of novelty to some still. But I grew up with international pen pals. I’m a child of the web forum, and a surfer of the multiculture.

Forgive my snide manner, but I just don’t see novelty here anymore. Sure, Google has built a better social network for my generation. And yes, there are more ways than ever to connect with others and things. But as I stated in my previous post, I just don’t get the novelty of it all. Maybe 20 years ago these things needed to be said, and maybe I’m ignorant for taking them for granted, but yes, we’re speaking in new ways. It’s a given.

I suppose now I can blather about what this means for markets, so here goes: Markets are becoming conversations while at the same time turning conversations into markets. Yes, the one thing is becoming the other becoming the other. What a Strange Loop.

Social media advertising and email marketing are just extensions of the human tendency since the invention of advertising, which is, to turn mediums into message. Every advertiser has the same tendency to stamp a medium, to place their mark on it, to in some measure privatize a part of the conversation.

However, given the rise of social mediums as a predominant force on the internet, marketers are trying to leverage community building as business. However, part of me doesn’t see where this is different than the tendency to privatize anything. Privatized conversations are a human fact, it’s why we have the whisper. Private conversation, is important, and we value custom, we like things to be “special,” or “one of a kind.” We prize dissimilarity even as much as we value conformity. Oh humans, what strange yet typical things we are.

In any case, I think one of the good things emerging from the markets becoming conversations is a propensity to try social models of business more readily, and a more open approach to the usefulness of such models. In fact, I have experimented with adding to the social business conversation. I tried a mashup of open source, co-operatives, and tech. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It didn’t really take off, but I tried, and that matters.

I’m not really too keen on answering much of anything, or writing anymore. Just enjoy some thoughts, and take it easy. I know I need to. Have a great night, and thanks for reading.


4 thoughts on “The Strange Loop of Social Business

  1. I’m getting a sense that you’re getting on to the fact that these theses were written some fifteen years ago. That’s enough time for the kids back then to have kids of their own by now – give or take. The theses are, by no feat of imagination, new – nor is this internet thingy.

    Do bear in mind that we don’t have to follow them too slavishly as we progress. They serve more a purpose of getting those thoughts going than as stated truths. No sense in going all Luther on ’em, after all. 😉

    So. Take it easy, have fun, try random angles just for the heck of it. We’re only as solemn as we make ourselves. ^^

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