Is Twitter's IPO the end of social? Or the beginning of something else? If you're a student of how social technologies have evolved throughout history, you'll know that the Twitter IPO is an important milestone in the development of this latest group of social technologies.
It does indeed signal the end—but the end of the beginning. And the next part of the evolutionary journey of today's social technology is where the really exciting stuff starts to happen.
Twitter's IPO, like Facebook's, LinkedIn's and the many other tools that have recently been created to change the way we connect, communicate, collaborate and create and shape communities (the 4C's) brings sustainability to these technologies. Not just a fad (which is exactly what people called the landline telephone over 130 years ago) an IPO demonstrates that the market validates the inherent value within the tool to improve on the 4C's. These tools work in new ways and are an improvement over what we were using before to enable the 4C's. Tools that impact the 4C's in a foundational way, stay around for a very, very long time and force us to rethink the way that pretty much everything gets done and how we shape our world.
And most importantly, the IPO's fund further development of the tools and guarantee that the technology will remain around for the foreseeable future. Social isn't going away anytime soon, in fact it is morphing right before our very eyes because we're onto something.
In the beginning stages of any social technology there are always skeptics who don't understand the tool and what is foundationally changing, i.e., the 4C's. What's unique about these latest tools, including Twitter, is that there are billions of people using them. We are the early adopter pool and it's gigantic! The laggards are not usually who you suspect when a new transformation and productivity tool presents itself—business is the social technology laggard.
The secret signal within the Twitter IPO is the same as it was with Facebook's IPO—Twitter isn't going away anytime soon. Business is starting to get that. When companies lift and shift the ability to change the 4C's into the context of work and getting things done within a business, change happens in a big way and in a good way.
The customer is always right is a an overused business cliche. But customers everywhere are telling business that this technology is better than what they had before.
The secret signal in the Twitter IPO is another wake up call for business about the value inherent in social technology—it's time to go to work with these tools.