The marketplace of conversations is filled with social dogma — “a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative.” Social marketing, SEO, social advertising, get twitter followers, make money online etc. and the dogma proliferates our attention and steals our time while the meaning and value becomes useless.

What does it mean to challenge the social dogma? Creative thought challenges existing dogma, instead of complying with it: to reject what is and instead creates something that isn’t.
People and organizations tend to buy into the dogma: “this is how things are done,” they think — and then they do it over and over and get the same results but at higher cost. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Social dogma needs to be challenged or the value of social media gets diminished. Here is my list of common things we are seeing in the social space that I would consider dogma:

Social products. Most companies use social media to do the same thing they have always done, push their products in our face. Even companies that are producing social products have designed them to do what has always been done. A product isn’t innovative unless it does what has not been done. Consider Apple’s products.

Social strategy. Everyone seems to be adding the term “strategy” to their online presence. Yet few seems to have any experience thinking strategically. Strategy and strategist means to think differently because the aim of a strategy is to do things differently. What is it — really — that makes you different? Facebook created an experience and an experiment in social interaction — and that’s why its rivals are desperately playing catch up. Playing catch up is missing the point: It’s not about following Facebook. It’s about challenging the dogma of your own thinking. Will your strategy produce anything different that isn’t already being used or available?

Social distribution. Social technologies are rolling out wave after wave of portals, channels, and platforms: all new distribution mechanisms. The problem is that they quickly become the same old distribution mechanisms, with a slightly different interface. Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you use will eventually be challenged. The preconception that content could only be distributed in walled gardens will be torn down. As the social technology moves to more of a truly open market it will challenge anything that came before it.

Social business models. Have you noticed that publishing business models has turned upside down and inside out? Have you also noticed that all business models are being effected by all things social? Governments, organizations and people are trying to adapt to the impact and dynamics of all things social. Social media are communications and one thing is certain about communications, it will change. Change is the business model. Wasting time investing in a model for today means you have to waste more time chasing tomorrows model.

Social sales and service. Now organizations are discovering how to use social to better serve the customer and enhance sales. The art of engagement has become personal, passionate, and in real-time. The sales process has inverted where the customer is now the sales person and the process. Service has where self-service is the mantra at the moment. Group buying is reducing the cost of middlemen and technology is advancing which is enabling buyers and suppliers to connect directly. Suppliers using social to sell and service will awaken to enabling the buyer to choose what they want, when they want it and do so with seamless virtual service.

As soon as you stop challenging the social dogma your thinking begins to accept the “code of beliefs as being authoritative and definitive”. The reality is that all things social are changing everything and thus nothing will remain in a constant state. To see and create change requires you to challenge your own thinking and those who believe their own dogma.

Jay Deragon

The Relationship Economy

July 9, 2010

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