The Social Channel Home Page

Welcome to the Social Channel home page. It will orient you to the Social Channel and its core ideas. The Social Channel is a key force in the most profound shift in business and society since 1750, when the Agrarian Economy began declining in favor of the Industrial Economy. Most important, it shows you how to use digital social technologies to adjust your career and business to create much more autonomy and prosperity for your community, company and family.

Business Challenges

Why is The Social Channel an opportunity and challenge for people? Today, leaders worldwide lament the “bad economy” and lack of jobs, but they miss the point. We don’t have a bad economy, it’s a different economy with new kinds of jobs, products and services. This new “Knowledge Economy” has different rules from the 20th century Industrial Economy. All people and organizations need to do is learn the new rules, tools and ways of working, so they can minimize pain and hasten increased prosperity.

  • The Social Channel represents a business shift away from impersonal mass-produced products (and jobs) to personalized products and social impact (and jobs). In the Industrial Economy, people ran machines to make products, creating far more value than they had by making things with their hands. In the Knowledge Economy, people talk about personal goals or social causes and collaborate in the Social Channel. Firms make products for people based on the outcomes people want from using products (and services), which serve people’s goals.
  • The Social Channel enables firms and people to create unprecedented value. Each shift between economies was marked by disruption and profound shifts in people’s means of production, which remade society and business because they changed the amount of “value” human work could create as well as the type of “products” that people’s work created.
  • The Social Channel is the new arena in which people will create value with their work—and firms will create value with their products and services. The Social Channel is made up of conversations and interactions in digital social venues (sites).
  • The Social Channel has been enabled by the growth of the Internet. Since Web 1.0, digital communication and collaboration have drastically increased the flow of ideas, opinions, secrets, scandals, everything. Then Web 2.0 added social functionality to “the web,” which now makes it easy for people to share socially—very efficiently. Web 3.0 adds intelligence and geodata to “the Web.”

Why is the Social Channel an opportunity and challenge for firms and brands? If you are a product firm, you likely invest millions in R&D, pilots, line extension initiatives, etc. to differentiate your offerings and compete.

  • The issue is, when people talk, they consume novelty. They quickly identify the novelty you try to create. Then they promote, debunk, or, maybe worst of all, “meh” your “innovations.” Witness how people in the Social Channel make or break multimillion dollar Hollywood films that can’t make it past the opening unless they please the online crowd. This phenomenon is coming to every product and service.
  • Your product life cycles, and your permission to charge the “brand premium,” are getting shorter, and this trend is accelerating (this means fewer old-style jobs).
  • Differentiating through product “features” is 20th century, and it will never recover. See the Social Channel Executive Summary for how this works.

Social Channel Opportunities

From organizations’ perspective, whether commercial, government, nonprofit or other, the breakthrough opportunity is that the (numerous) people they serve are now (or soon will be) entering the Social Channel—and relating in sophisticated ways. This presents organizations with a new way to interact and collaborate with the people they serve: quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

More people participate online every day, so the question for firms is, “How can we interact with them in ways that are meaningful for them and us? How can we collaborate with them to create meaningful outcomes for them and us?

Crowdsourcing is a good example of how to tap into the Social Channel since both are about relating and collaborating. Crowdsourcing is widely applicable, and its use is increasing fast. It’s a tactic in which a firm (or person) asks the (digital) crowd for input or advice on important questions, usually in social networks, so participants can vet responses, which drives up quality and credibility. Most executives don’t understand the dynamics of transparent forums, so they underestimate the power of crowdsourcing, which has three key aspects:

  1. Quality is high due to the diversity of responses and the crowd’s evaluation of them.
  2. Engagement is high because people feel honored that you are asking their opinions.
  3. Crowdsourcing is fast and inexpensive. You cannot afford to not do it because you will be harmed by competitors who do.

Crowdsourcing is not complicated, but firms need to develop expertise and approaches for asking, managing venues and following up to maximize value. Read Manor Labs’ case study and others.

Emergent organization is a key dynamic in crowdsourcing—and the Social Channel. Interactions usually coalesce spontaneously around the people who are most passionate, committed and knowledgeable. In digital social venues, support for this kernel of people naturally organizes. Participants’ quality of contribution usually determines their stature in the venue. Brands can have major impact when they support crowdsourcing by adding rare, high-impact knowledge ingredients to the mix. Digital crowds also tap probability because many people are potentially available participants at low cost.

CSRA Social Channel Posts

My latest thinking on the Social Channel:

Knowledge Economy Products and The Future of Manufacturing

Bank Branch Disruption Enables Unusual Opportunity [updated]

The Social Channel of Value [Executive Summary]

The Global Social Channel: How to Compete Globally

The Social Channel of Value In-depth

Building Post-Product Customer Relationships in the Social Channel

How Nonprofits & NGOs Can Press Their Home Court Advantage in Social Business [updated]

Here is a list of all our social channel-focused posts and articles.

The Social Channel: Where Firms Compete in the 21st Century

The Social Channel Directory

Learn and use the key concepts from the forthcoming book and how you can keep in touch real-time.

Social Channel Reference

Social Channel Discussions

Conversations to which I’m contributing online:

[commented]How the #customer #journey map is showing its age & what to do about it #kudos @flavmartins
[commented]Poignant riff on femininity, how industrial society cultures denigrate women by not trusting their competence
Excellent overview of omnichannel commerce, history & retailer examples + good references #kudos
Added to must-read post on choosing active or passive adaptation during high market and culture volatility #fb
Comment on Mark's rant on the marketing of unrealistic career/life expectations

Even more discussions on how digital social technologies are changing the rules of business and society.

6 comments to The Social Channel

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