Those who do extraordinary things change the game for those who don’t. Changing the game for others means you do something which changes the rules of the game before those following the old rules know it.

Apple changed the game for mobile device manufacturers and for mobile users. Apple is now attempting to change the game for “laptops” with the IPad. Google changed the game for internet search engine utility. President OBama changed the game of politics when he leveraged the internet to raise contributions ($600 million compared to McCann’s $50 million) and to take his message of change directly to voters.

Social media is a game changer. It is changing how people interact with markets. How buyers influence sellers and how old media adapts to this thing we call new media. The dynamics and disruptive nature of all things social are emerging on a daily basis.

Individuals and organizations are looking for and trying innovative ways to garner attention, awareness, affinity, audiences and subsequent actions. The flow of new technology enters the marketplace faster than most people and entire organizations can keep track of never mind comprehending the pending implications. Jumping from one technology to another there is a frenzy of tactical maneuvers, creative uses are all indicative of a race with no clear end in mind. While garnering people’s attention for the moment the next moment moves the audience because someone else applies tactical maneuvers and creative uses of social media to get our attention. The limelight of tactical and creative attempts to get the audiences attention are but for a moment.

Strategy is What Changes the Game Not Tactics

There is no road map for use of social technology, only temporary roads. Temporary roads are tactical uses aimed at getting attention and awareness. Fueled by creativity these tactics are short roads with a dead end unless there is an overriding strategy that creates new “highways” for others to follow and use.

A highway for use of social technology requires deep thinking about users wants, needs and intentions. Since there is no preplanned highway and the objective of a sound strategy is to create a highway where none exist. Doing so takes creative thinking long term and the development of tools and experiences that users find valuable, useful and serving their intentions. Time, convenience and valuable experiences are the strategic elements that can create new highways. Slick marketing and tactical attempts to get the audiences attention are side roads not long term highways.

A sound Social strategy is one which changes the rules of the game for more than a moment. If you can change the rules of the game and users like the new rules then competition will have to follow your highway.

Social media and related social stuff currently grabbing everyone’s attention represents an explosive map of new roads where everyone wants to discover where the roads go. Those who can think strategically will create highways for all to follow and use and subsequently these people and organizations will change the game and pull all the traffic from the side roads. Why? Because highways are faster routes for users to get from point A to B with better experiences.

If you are not thinking strategically about all this social stuff you may end up on a dead end road. Get it?

Jay Deragon
02 12 2010

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