Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Is Sharing Trending Towards Private, and What Does That Mean for Social Business?

Today I participated in interACT!, a virtual conference about cross-channel marketing. I was impressed with the content of the few sessions I watched live, although I was puzzled to see such an inactive Twitter stream from what I presume were marketers at least somewhat dedicated to social media marketing.

A few of my takeaways from the experience:
  • In her opening keynote, Sandy Carter, Vice President, Social Business Evangelism and Sales from IBM Corporation, said "social will create more jobs than the internet." Later in the presentation she asked attendees to tweet if they or someone they knew were either a social media or community manager. I was the only one who responded. Call me a pessimist but I'm personally not holding my breath for all the social jobs that are a-comin'. 
  • A common thread throughout all the presentations I saw was the fact that marketers and data analysts are busily connecting our social dots--connecting our tweets to our email addresses, sizing up each potential customer's "influence," capturing our social graphs and all the rest of it. This is spawning a whole new industry of software and services--social media management systems, social media monitoring systems, influence graders, social CRM services, etc. etc. Clearly a whole industry is being built upon the fact that we share publicly. But while I see all that stuff exploding, I also see myself and my fellow early adopters starting to share more off the grid. Instead of broadcasting to all our Facebook friends we participate in secret Facebook groups. Instead of tweeting we're using group text apps like Beluga or Google+'s Huddle or Glassboard. We're using mobile more.

What does this mean for marketers who are banking on the ever-increasing river of public intelligence gathering? What does it mean for the new social business imperative that hinges on all of us sharing on public platforms? What happens if the early adopter trend I'm seeing continues and people become networked in more private ways not accessible to the prying eyes of businesses looking to use that data?

Am I being paranoid or is this something others think about?

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