Earth to Twitter: Social Needs Stakeholder Governance

twitter y macworld

twitter y macworld (Photo credit: juque)

Twitter‘s latest blow to developers and users, the source of lamentation as I write and we all tweet, brings into fresh focus a simple, 3-fold, claim.

  • social media are uniquely positioned to benefit from high-level stakeholder engagement
  • it is in the interests of all involved for them to move toward stakeholder governance
  • yet our lead social media companies are among the least “social” of contemporary corporations.

Mark Zuckerberg has led the social pack with his high (and I believe genuinely meant) claim for a social purpose for social media. At some point someone will decide to work on alignment between such goals, the culture and practices of the organizations themselves, and their governance and funding structures. Some deep innovation in the latter will be needed before “social” settles down as the substrate of our C21 lives.

Facebook Crashes:

https://futureofbiz.org/technology/facebook-crashes-my-5-questions/

 

New API severely restricts third-party Twitter applications | Ars Technica.

 

Twitter and the Holy Grail: Profit and a Future . . . . 3 To-Do Items

Gordon Moore on a fishing trip

Gordon Moore on a fishing trip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As data whooshes out of every pore of the planet, powered by Gordon Moore‘s seismic explosion, knowing what’s useful has become the core skill.

Here’s a couple of data points just in, before I jump the snark and tell Twitter what to do.

First, LinkedIn is coining it. Hand over fist. Revenues up 89%. And multiple streams of it. Surprise, surprise; the stock price is rising. Details below.

Second, Twitter searches are far higher than Bing and Yahoo put together. Details and much more here.

If I ran the Twitters?

1. Think moolah. $10, $25 a month subscriptions. Offer special features, blah blah. Tens of millions of serious users would sign up in a 140. Some of us know we would pay far, far more than that. For the uber-tweeters, don’t we know,  this is where social just go serious, personal, professional, essential.

2. Think search. It has made Google and could yet unmake it (though I think that unlike Facebook they may well adapt and thrive). It will move generic. The demand for subscription-based, privacy-enhanced, offerings will grow, grow, grow. I only want one platform open all day, and I want it to be this one.

3. Think governance. Let’s crowdsource a novel structure that pays off the entrepreneurs and investors well, but gives us multi-stakeholder governance. Wikipedia has been the only big platform to go the non-profit route. In a world of sparking social enterprise, let’s get creative. And drive a next-gen knowledge and comms platform that draws exponential strength from “social” and the fact the smartest guys on the planet are on here every single day.

K? Then later today we can discuss something else. On Twitter, of course.

Why Twitter Matters

LinkedIn Reaches 174 Million Members, Revenue Up 89% | The Realtime Report.

Facebook Crashes. My 5 Questions.

English: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Facebook settles to just over $20 and all kinds of problems emerge for the company as a result (chronicled here at length, including lock-up releases, tax issues, cash issues:�http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-lockup-release-2012-8#ixzz22mj8cB6e) we keep coming back to the basics.

My 5 Questions, following up my earlier post Is #Facebook Doomed?

1. How do we value such an effort in terms that synch with Wall Street when all digital companies are fragile if wonderful things? (Answer: Dunno)

2. How do we project value into the future when (as I keep saying, over and over) interoperability looms in the social space, and with it the end of economic profit? (Answer: Modestly)

3. How can it be that our definitely “social” company shows less interest in social engagement (and diversity!) than almost any other on the planet, when it is probably the company most in need? (Answer: A Dreadful Mystery)

4. Why did Mark Zuckerberg and his buds, who claim serious social purposes for their enterprise (which I have no reason to doubt are genuinely held), not explore innovative financing and governance techniques instead of chanting IPO and setting up a governance structure that a C19th steel baron would admire? (Answer: A Curious Lack of Imagination?)

5. When will a major “social” effort decide to fund itself, in part at least, through subscriptions from its user base – with commensurate accountability – in place of the vortex of ads/analytics/privacy into which our premier social network is being sucked? (Answer: None too soon)

Facebook Crashes To End The Day – Business Insider.

$1.3 Trillion from Social, Says McKinsey. BUT . . . .

English: McKinsey matrix as described in McKin...

English: McKinsey matrix as described in McKinsey Quarterly Español: Reproducción de la Matriz de McKinsey según se describe en McKinsey Quarterly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This looks a very interesting projection. The value is mainly to be found from better productivity that will come from better collaboration using social tools.

All this may be true. But the wild card lies in what I term strategic social – not incremental tools for biz collaboration (which are important) but the much messier and so far little engaged possibility of public social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook. In general companies have seen presence in these media to be useful for advertising and customer relations efforts, and delegated that presence way down then line. The prospect of values alignment between customers, employees, and the corporation; and the ready flow of information via relationships across the organizational boundary; have been little tapped and not that much noticed. My sense is that the value lying there is in fact much greater, as it can, should, may, drive innovation and culture change within the company. Culture change/innovation is where, prospectively, all the value lies – in the context of rapid change.

Evidence of very low levels of hands-on engagement with social in the C-Suite suggests this value is a long way from being realized.

McKinsey Says Social Media Could Add $1.3 Trillion to the Economy – NYTimes.com.

Most Organizations Still Fear Social Media

Aside

From Gartner via HBR comes another handy report on how major organizations are responding to social media. Despite the alliterative categories (sorry, not into that) there’s great data and analysis here, although it is focused on the tactical and not so much the strategic value of social.

The “fear” term is interesting. Seems to me that fear requires a level of (perhaps mis)understanding that the failure of the CEO/CIO class to engage personally with this new world is somewhat OTT.

My recipe stays the same. A serious immersion in social for every member of the C-Suite and the board. Best time/money spend any major organization could make; and let’s start tomorrow.

The grim details: 14/500 CEOs tweeting . . . .

https://futureofbiz.org/2012/07/13/the-grim-details-on-ceos-and-social-14500-are-tweeting-for-example/

Most Organizations Still Fear Social Media – Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald – Harvard Business Review.

The Future and Us and Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil at Stanford Singularity Summit.

Ray Kurzweil at Stanford Singularity Summit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ray Kurzweil is one of around a dozen figures who mark out the space between present and future – and us and technologies. He is an optimist as to speed of progress and its generally beneficent character, up to and including his “singularity.” Here he is noting, in general rather helpfully, that the future is easier to predict than some may think, in areas where exponential digital change is driving events (if you like, on Gordon Moore‘s moors.)

Of course the fun really starts when technologies bump into each other (convergence), when their disruptive impact is so great it’s just not clear what’s going to happen next, when people (yay, people!) decide to make decisions that shape what comes next, and so on.

I’ve written before about various aspects of all this (not least the rapid aging of companies that are out there on Moore’s moors – segue to Facebook‘s valuation, and so on). It’s handy to be reminded of the impact of the digital factor. Perhaps we can devise an impact factor that could be attached to companies, business models, and industries. Those close to pure digital will flourish rapidly and collapse/be superseded very fast. The search/social phalanx is slowly being followed by biotechnology as digitization and the management of huge data sets moves along (and, oh yes, typewriters and sliderules . . .). Random industries such as travel agency and cameras (sorry, Kodak) were hit hard and early. Publishing has taken longer and is going through an anguished process that will not soon be resolved. Education, especially higher education, has resisted with a fortitude and insouciance that would have been hard to resist.

So yes, some things are easier to predict. Some much less so. Some will always surprise. And then there’s the human factor.

Ray Kurzweil on Predicting the Future #WIFNY | Working Knowledge ®.

Facebook user satisfaction plummets- MSN Money

Aside

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nuff said.

But if I may add: The cause is attributed to three factors: Privacy issues; the constantly changing interface; and what HuffPo describes as “in-your-face advertising.”

Which takes me back to a theme I keep harping on: Our leading “social” company is among the least engaged on its own behalf in social media; despite being uniquely well-placed, it has chosen to disconnect itself from its user/customers and take continual decisions without consultation.

The context here is fascinating, since it is not simply that Facebook, “the social network,” does less well than G+ and Twitter; as a whole social companies score far worse than traditional (and traditionally unpopular) companies such as airlines and utilities.

Hard to make this up. And truly remarkable that these companies seem to be among the least able to grasp the impact on business/consumer relationships of the technologies they have mastered.

It’s also dire news for Facebook investors.

Facebook user satisfaction plummets- MSN Money.

Social Media is NOT necessary for the C-Suite . . .?

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After all the recent talk around the unbelievably low numbers for executive participation in social media – including that of hardly any CIOs, which should be a hanging offence if not one for drawing and quartering first – we now have an effort to defend the C Suite and pooh-pooh the concerns of those of us who have been suggesting that the Fortune XXX are well on their way to losing their fortunes.

Jeff Esposito makes the best of a thoroughly bad case, and I invite you to read it (link below).

Quick points in rejoinder (and see my earlier posts):

1. The issue is strategic. If in 2012 hardly a soul in the C-Suite is actively engaged in social, a (the?) major source of competitive (dis)advantage is simply being ignored – because, unlike say the dictaphone, you don’t know what you’re talking about / hiring for /strategizing about unless you have splashed around with several of these platforms over time. As I said in an earlier post, social is like saying you’re sorry; you can’t just hire someone to do it for you.

2. CEO disengagement is bizarre (these are supposed to be the smart guys). @Rupertmurdoch stands out as the only top CEO using Twitter interestingly. Only. But if the CIO, the conscience of the new info technology, is making snide remarks about people wasting their time “twittering,” it is not surprise everyone else in the suite feels they are off the hook. He (OK, almost all of them are) is doing more damage to the company than he could begin to imagine. At Moore’s Law speed, the social revolution is – chaotically – up and running. (The fact that most U.S. CIOs still report through the CFO, another body blow revealed by recent reseach, explains, sadly, a lot.)

3. Point is: This is not “about” marketing/customer service – though fielding complaints in real time is no bad thing. It’s about strategic re-invention by the alignment of corporate values, the values of employees, and those of present and prospective customers. It’s about B2B as much as B2C. It’s about letting loose a force for continuous innovation within the company – the only way, in the M’s-Law context, that this can be achieved. This is nuclear stuff. And the sooner 225 CIOs are giving their marching order (only 25 are on Twitter), the better. At least, if shareholders and boards have any interest in long-term profitability.

Jeff’s charge is partly that social media pros, whatever exactly they are, are jumping up and down about a situation which is of course of interest to them. But by and large their interests are tactical and marketing/CR focused. This issue is nuclear in its implications. There is no better thing any board member or CEO or C Anything Else could do than spend 2 weeks in social media immersion.

Memo to Social Media Pros – Social Media is NOT necessary for the C-suite.

The Grim Details on CEOs and Social; 14/500 are tweeting, for example

An Evening with the Fortune 500, May 7, 2012

An Evening with the Fortune 500, May 7, 2012 (Photo credit: Fortune Live Media)

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion, as these bizarre studies keep tumbling in, that serious personal engagement in social media is an absolute prerequisite for corporate leadership in 2012. And given the numbers, it’s also the single biggest opportunity for developing competitive advantage.

And here’s a project – anyone want to team up? Remedial social education camp: Every Fortune 500 CEO and other C-Suite denizen, every member of their boards, unless they are in the tiny minority actively and seriously engaged, needs to come spend a week being enabled to understand the single most dynamic force in the world in which they are operating.

Here are some of the most telling numbers.

  • 5 of the 19 CEOs on Twitter have never tweeted, and other accounts are “underutilized”
  • 25 of the 38 CEOs on Facebook have less than 100 friends
  • only four CEOs are on Google+ (including Larry Page)
  • not a single Fortune 500 CEO is on Pinterest

Here’s the report. Pour yourself a stiff drink before opening.

http://www.ceo.com/wp-content/themes/ceo/assets/F500-Social-CEO-Index.pdf

CEOs, C-Suites, and Suicide

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Seems that approximately once a week a report is coming out giving fresh evidence for the same, utterly bizarre, fact: That most top execs are simply not engaged, personally or professionally, in social media. To qualify a tad: One well-placed observer tells that he believes many are actually engaged in private social media (such as Yammer) within their companies. I should be interested to see the evidence. Some I am sure are. But the whole point about social is that it is substantially public; private chat/bulletin experiences are not exactly the point. And while we are being skeptical: Anyone have data on private social use? Key issue is that the dynamic, transformative, threatening, swirling, social ocean needs to be swum in. It’s not just chit-chat among colleagues.

Back to point: Just before reading this nice piece in AllThingsD, I had posted a cry of distress that our major “social” corporations (that is, Facebook et al.) are themselves way down the list of those corporations benefiting from social engagement with their customers/users. Way down.

That is, the argument is a fortiori. If even our top social corporation isn’t engaging with its environment socially, what hope for B2B and B2C players in more trad industries?

This is bad.

Top CEOs Aren’t Using Social Media, Study Says — Should They Be? – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD.