Magazine article CRM Magazine

Everything Is Social: The Word Is Everywhere Now: Social Networks, Social Frameworks, Social Platforms

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Everything Is Social: The Word Is Everywhere Now: Social Networks, Social Frameworks, Social Platforms

Article excerpt

FACEBOOK (among others) has been hogging the social networking buzz for a long time. By now, there isn't a human in the known universe who isn't acquainted with the coolness of being (and the need to be) social--and aggressively online about it. In November, Google entered the fray with its Open Social API, which has potentially staggering implications for business and for the social institutions that underpin how we communicate these days. First, the thing itself: a common set of standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be used to build social networking applications. This framework will standardize access to social networks either individually or as interconnected groups via a common set of reusable applications. These applications would access profiles; trigger or record interactions among members or between members and the network; or monitor or allow persistent behaviors on the site. The second factor involves the roughly 75 companies engaged in the first phase of Open Social, including Salesforce.com and Oracle--CRM powerhouses committed to a common social framework.

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The recent shift in how we communicate--text messaging, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, podcasts, commentary on social networks, and varying permutations and combinations of all of them--has transformed how customers think. Actually, that's a bit of a misstatement. It's transformed how people think. The transformation drivers have been social, not commercial: A 2007 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that elite technology users comprise 31 percent of the U.S. population. Middle-of-the-road users represent another 20 percent.

In other words, over half of the country is already conversant in the technologies that are helping to enable what people expect: instantaneous (or nearly instantaneous) response that allows them to make informed decisions, received in their preferred ways. And they expect the information to be true--not hype, not spin, but true. This expectation is of a peer speaking either actually or virtually to other peers; the customer speaking in the same fashion with the vendor/supplier company; the constituents speaking with their responsive government agencies; potential voters speaking with candidates; and volunteers speaking with their favorite causes. In short, it impacts all societal institutions across the board. But it has particular impact for business. …

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