People connect to people they perceive as "headed in the same direction they desire to pursue". The subsequent conversations reflect common threads of interest. The different train tracks represent different conversations, different platforms, different affinities and different transactions.
We'll define a transaction as an agreement, communication, or movement carried out between different people, entities or objects, often involving the exchange of items of value, such as information, goods, services and money. Today's social networks are fundamentally connecting people and enabling open conversations, transactions of informational exchange.
The evolution of these transactions will be enhanced through the convergence of technological advancements to "networks" which enable people to increase the value of these transactions economically. The "train cars" are fueled by today's conversations and they are building speed, momentum and the attention of business. The velocity of these train cars, running on multiple tracks, are moving faster than anything in history and most businesses are not even aware that "the train is coming".
Will there be a wreck at the intersection of people and business?
Doc Searls writes: "Think
of markets as three overlapping circles: Transaction, Conversation and
Relationship. Our financial system is Transaction run amok.
Metasticized. Optimized at all costs. Impoverished in the Conversation
department, and dismissive of Relationship entirely. We've been
systematically eliminating Relationship for decades, excluding,
devaluing and controlling human interaction wherever possible, to
maximize efficiency and mechanization."
With all the attention being given to "social networking" much of the underlying dynamics that drive the adoption of the "networks" are misunderstood. Businesses, analyst, markets and the media again are focusing on the results rather than understanding the systemic nature that produces today's results. The attraction of over a half a billion individuals engaged in today's "networks" is a business attraction motivated by economic possibilities. While the economic possibilities are significant the understandings of the dynamics which are creating the possibilities is critical to capturing the economic gains.
If you reflect on Doc Searls comments above you will see a systemic failure of "business" to make progress in the fundamentals of human interaction, relationships. People produce business results and businesses produce relationship results. If we measured the "relationship results" of businesses the scorecard would likely create a failing grade. Businesses have been consumed by financial measures as dictated by public and private markets that measure economics. The social web is creating a new measure of business based on the fundamentals of relationships. The people have known and continue to know how "business has failed them". It has never been a secret rather business environments have simply controlled the conversations that speak to the relationship issues.
John Maloney, Founder, KM Cluster; Global IT Architectures says: Social networks and SNA are excellent research tools for academics and scientists. They are excellent at showing and understanding relationships. However, from a purely practical sense, a business and economic sense, for driving growth, they fall down badly. Why, again academics, scientist and businesses are measuring and analyzing the wrong thing, results.
Measuring and reacting to results is like trying to play tennis by watching the scoreboard. The results of "social networking" is nothing more than a scoreboard indicating "something is driving people to engage, exchange and connect". If businesses want to succeed in a "social network" they must engage, exchange and connect with people in order to reap any benefits of social commerce.
The momentum of a train is based on speed and mass. The faster it moves with greater mass the harder it becomes to stop it and anything in its way simply gets runs over.
What say you?