E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Reinventing Social Media – The People by David Armano

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringI am sure you would all agree with me that both TED Talk and TEDx videos are just terrific means of being wowed over and over again on multiple different topics. One could eventually spend the whole day long watching them one after the other and never get tired of them! The thing is that, every so often, one gets to bump into one of those special TED(x) videos that leaves a really good taste behind; that inspires you tremendously and that surely marks a before and an after you watch it. Well, I have just had one of those moments: Reinventing Social Media by David Armano.

Yes, that’s right! David Armano, Senior Vice President for Edelman Digital and whose birthday was just a few hours back (Happy birthday again, David!), spent a little bit over 16 minutes sharing a good number of rather compelling and very touching stories that highlight quite nicely the huge impact of social media beyond the technology focus and the marketing hype, trying to establish the main basic guidelines of what he feels is going to define social media in the not so distant future.

To get things started, he makes a great point that media is *not* social; people are. And, as such, we should stop that infatuation we keep having with everything 2.0 related and move on. Move on to where we should be focusing in the first place. And I bet you know, by now, where I am heading… Yes, indeed, it’s quite refreshing, as you can imagine, to see how other folks validate your ideas, and long term beliefs, and in this case it’s rather rewarding to see how David proclaims that the next challenge for social media is to move on and give the focus of the change … to the people. Not the social tools, nor the processes, but the people themselves who have been there all along as part of the equation, but which we kept neglecting, and ignoring!, time and time again over the course of the years… Specially in the field of Knowledge Management.

I couldn’t have agreed more with him on that point, plus a whole bunch of the nice slideware and visuals he used to deliver plenty of those key and powerful messages. Pay special attention to the one on the Social Media Conversion Scale, which you can read more about over here, and try to figure out for yourself where you think you would be on that scale. I think I know where I am and where I want to be and would love to know from you, on the comments, where you think you are and where you believe you would want to be in the next couple of years… I bet that would sparkle a rather interesting conversation for everyone…

Finally, not going to spend much more time on this blog post, since I think you would probably want to watch David’s video right away, but I would want to finish this short blog post with one other key major ah-ha moment I got after going through it. And that is his wonderful use of rather touching personal stories that tried to represent, and very successfully, in my opinion, the opportunity to benefit from social media: first, you, as an individual, to then benefit the rest of your social network(s). Forget altogether about the business! That is where it all begins and, to me, it is also a key message, not just from social media, but also for Enterprise 2.0: that unless knowledge workers take a much more personal involvement and commitment to augment their own individual productivity with all of these social tools, before they start thinking about sharing and collaborating effectively with other teams, networks and communities, our overall efforts of adoption won’t probably go much further beyond and eventually die off in the short term.

And we wouldn’t want to do that, right? Like David shares on the video, we need to reinvent social media, each and everyone of us, as individuals, one step at a time, before we can move further on into our next challenge: address and fix our business problems! We first need to fix ourselves!

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  1. Great post and an excellent wrap-up of David’s talk (I had just watched the video prior to reading this). I had the priviledge of getting to know him this year in a conference I helped organize. He brings to the social media hype a good deal of common sense and vision.

    Regarding the social media conversion scale I’m shooting for the evolving true believer, though I’m not sure if I’m there yet. I try as much as possible to learn from different perspectives (and still believe that I need to study sociology much more) in order to avoid the jerk status 🙂

    As for your statement “unless knowledge workers take a much more personal involvement and commitment to augment their own individual productivity with all of these social tools, before they start thinking about sharing and collaborating effectively with other teams, networks and communities, our overall efforts of adoption won’t probably go much further beyond and eventually die off in the short term” that to me sums up brilliantly one of the key issues around social media and also around E2.0. The change has to start at the individual level. Corporate culture acts as a facilitator, or not, of the wanted behaviours, and tools serve only as enablers. The rest is up to our reinvention as individuals…

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