digital strategy, strategy, thought leadership

#SoMeNite – an evening exploratory on social media’s maturation.

Once every few months @RickWolfe and I host a #SoMeNite; a night of exploration around Social Media’s maturity.

It started off as an effort to gain industry input into the development of an open sourced framework for accessing an organizations’ maturity in social media.  Though the framework has been well received and adapted/modified by the fine folks participating in our round tables, it has also become a conversational spring board for the most recent, topical issues that businesses face in social media.

Open Source Social Media Maturity Chart

I couldn’t possibly cover the entire discussion, but I can share some interesting themes:

  • Can you imagine the death of facebook? google, etc
  • How do you drive social thru the organization?
  • Related to this, the issue of restricted social media access within an enterprise.  [see @schnitzelboy’s post – about the restricted use of social media within the enterprise — “What Star Wars teaches us about Social Media at work”]
  • The difficulty in managing social media and employees participation within it (@EdLynne states – what of organizations with 32, 000 employees?)
  • The importance of including social aspects to product builds – as @simonsmith stated – angel investors will not invest in anything that does not have a social component.
  • The idea that some people / some brands are not “‘social by nature”  (e.g. health brands that consumers rely on anonymous search not social for learning)
  • Does social jump the cue in customer service?
  • A beautiful comment by @xsabaa on whether or not we would pay a premium for an anonymous profile.
  • @xsabaa also commented on the existence of brand fear as the consumer is sometimes a bully in social.
  • And did you know that it takes only 25 letters to move legislation? via @judyforce
  • Managing a community – with insight from @tanyasays
    • the multiple administrators issue
    • the explosion of social networks to manage but social media marketing teams have stayed the same size
    • the need for brands to go into the messy personal territory within social (lovely idea from @xsabaa)
    • role of the ^ – moderator identifier within community management
  • And – within our evening attendees, some agreement that the term “maturity” is premature in describing social media..  [consistent with an earlier #SoMeNite – Is it premature to talk about social media maturity?
About @RickWolfe:  Rick, of, is a specialist in digital conversation (which is to say he creates the right environment for an exploratory conversation that results in meaningful, fresh, and exciting insights).   Thank you Rick!
thought leadership

Defining thought leadership and what makes it so.

I was invited to a thinking ‘salon’, as it was described, to play intellectual ping pong with ten very impressive people – among them a leadership coach, a brand fixer, an former CEO of a catalog company, a social (csr) entrepreneur, an ex-naval officer now in academia, a sharp accountant and fellow marketers.    I was participating on my tippy toes – reaching up to discuss philosophically and intelligently on what is thought leadership and what makes it so.

Sound boring?  Not at all.  In fact, it gave two hours to dissect an overused term whose deliverable (thought leadership) is critical to business and everyday life.  The analysis of which leaves me clearer on what is required of thought leaders.

[Incidentily, I was invited by Rick Wolfe of Poststone.  I learned long ago never to turn down anything Rick organizes; he is a master at facilitation and marketing savant well known in marketing circles.]

I started my conversation by admitting that I used to own the title “subject matter expert” [in e-marketing, branding, strategy at IBM] with thought leadership being among the deliverables that I had to produce.  I loved that title until I had kids and learned how much there was to learn about life in general and ever since I’ve been utterly convinced that noone owns an ‘expert’ title.   I cringe now when I hear the s.m.e.  title.

More importantly, I questioned ‘thought leadership’ since

a) in this age of social wisdom, I see less individual thought leadership and more collective thought leaders and

b) in our interconnected society, I often think I have an original idea and if I google it, I find that it is not original at all.

As it turns out, the group collectively agreed that being original or first to market with an idea does not necessarily constitute thought leadership.   That thought leadership needs to also result in impact.  That the leadership of the thought includes relevancy, application, resources, action and impact.  There was also talk that thought leadership is a special thing and a special person who synthesizes in a special way.   I added that thought leadership can be unintentional – an idea or meme that catches like wild fire.

I have a number of books to follow up on – as always seems the case when I go to these intellectual debates.  They are  “Brief History of Nearly Everything”, “The Gift”, “The Singularity is Near” and probably something on Obama would be good too.