The power of the social web is fueled by two attributes, connections and conversations.
Connections are fueled by affinities to personal and professional interest. A persons profile within a network provides the beginning basis for others to determine if there is an affinity between them and others.
Once two or more people become connected relationships begin to establish through conversations about anything and everything. Conversations usually start out short, an introduction or a request. Conversations then become engaging through post around topics, people or announcements about groups of people formed around topics about anything and everything. Have you noticed how many invites one gets from groups forming on numerous networks?
A conversation is communication by two or more people often on a particular topic. Conversations are the ideal form of communication in some respects, since they allow people with different views of a topic to learn from each other.
Those engaging in conversation naturally relate the other speaker's statements to themselves, and insert themselves (or some degree of relation to themselves, ranging from the replier's opinions or points to actual stories about themselves) into their replies. A successful conversation includes mutually interesting connections between the parties or things that the parties know. For this to happen, those engaging in conversation must find a topic on which they both can relate to in some sense. Today's social web provides a library of topics for anyone anywhere to relate to and subsequently engage in the related conversations.
From Conversational Streams to Rivers
Today's social networks provide the means for people to engage in streams of conversations about anything and everything, one to one to millions. However, when the diverse networks, and the related conversations, become seamlessly interconnected by the current "shift" to "open source" then these streams of conversations become rivers of force and influence.
These conversational rivers are a powerful force that transmits influence throughout the landscape of the human network. The Human Network is the millions of individuals standing on the riverbanks of conversations. Today the conversational rivers are divided by technological constraints or silo networks disconnected. Today the technological divide determines which way conversational rivers flow and where they end. Tomorrow there will be no divides and the conversational rivers will connect and flow freely across the landscape of the human network. Once these conversational rivers intersect they will grow in force and swell in size eventually dumping into the sea of "media" and creating waves of change unforeseen and disruptive in nature.
Billions of conversational streams are flowing across the social web on a daily basis. The percentage of these streams that are forming into conversational rivers grows daily as more and more people connect and adopt the conversational tools of the social web. Conversations, like water, create mass and influence as the speed, level and depth of participation increases.
Some people, and businesses, not aware of the swelling river and subsequent waves get washed over or away and their old landscape is changed suddenly and without notice. Jumping into the "river" enables you to learn how to navigate as the river swells and picks up speed.
Are you standing on the riverbank or in the river and engaging in its course?
What say you?