Am tired of social

I am getting a bit tired of ‘Social’.  ‘Enterprise 2.0’. ‘Social Learning’.  And labels of that nature. Every conference has speakers waxing eloquence on it and its magical prowess of transforming organisations. The usual smirks by those that dont agree and the vigorous nods by those who do, follow. I used to be another who vigorously nodded. Now, my nod is less pronounced, if at all.

The power of what essentially is ‘social’ hasn’t diminished one bit. In fact, it has only gotten augmented by all the conversation about it. But there is something that just isnt right. Infact something is wrong, when you realise that nothing is changing on the ground.

Some poking around the ground and some conversation later, these are my thoughts.

a. ‘Social’ is not a set of a skills. Its a way of working. Its a mindset, in my opinion. Sure, it does help to have  set of  ‘social’ skills that can be built over time. In the absence of a fundamentally different mindset however, we begin to use these newly acquired skills of using social tools, using the mindset that fit a different era.  It is easy to mistake familiarity with these tools as presence of a social mindset. It can be jarring.

b. This means, significantly unlearning (and sometimes dismantling) what we are so used to doing as routine and approach work, learning and life, ground up. Jane Hart wrote very interesting post about ‘Fauxial Learning‘ a while ago. It is a pointer to how and where the conversation must move to : helping people see value in fundamentally different areas.

c. Our focus and our conversations revolving around  ‘outcomes’ and how seamlessly we reach there will be far more fruitful. More often than not, thats going to involve fundamentally redesigning work. That is tough work. It is just not technology. It requires change processes to be deployed over time. But thats the work that needs to be done.

The more the time we spend on discussing features of the next “new, improved, shiny social too” we are going to be that much more longer away from fundamentally impacting organisations, by leveraging social.

So there. Am tired of the noise around ‘social’. Am tired of the wrappers that announce ‘social’. The wrapper mistaken for the toffee can cause more damage to what the toffee is perceived to be.

I understand that we have to go through this phase too. Its just that I am impatient for it to pass, ushering in a time when we debate our dilemmas on the way our social mindsets are evolving.

9 thoughts on “Am tired of social

  1. Jane Bozarth says:

    “‘Social’ is not a set of a skills. It’s a way of working.” Excellent.

  2. Kavi says:

    Thank you Jane! 🙂

  3. mark britz says:

    Thoughtful post. Much appreciated! Having worked in organizations, helping them better understand what “social” is and using social tools I can’t agree more. It IS fundamentally a mindset shift and frankly those shifts happen slowly, one person, one conversation at a time. The long haul has to be expected and that is a tough thing for any organization looking for or expecting some magical transformation. And yes, the tools are always changing and always will, that is why it’s so very important that people understand social at it’s core and that it is messy, fluffy stuff because it’s about people and people are inconsistent and emotional. All the new features and functions only detract from what really matters about human relationships and individual needs. In a world where people are consumed by technology in their private and public lives, I am grateful that at least social technologies allow us to discuss the relationship of people and technology.

  4. Kavi says:

    Thank you Mark. Cant help agree with you more. These changes are slow and they happen one conversation at a time. While the conversation happening on social has indeed accelerated the number of conversations happening, I think the gap between ‘possibilities’ and ‘realities’ continue to stay wide. Perhaps therein lies the frustration! Helps to know there are several others on the same journey!

  5. Nnetta says:

    Hi, I read your blog with interest and I can certainly agree with the first point you made. It’s not enough to just present people with social learning tools (for example), and expect that social learning will kick off by itself. Though I personally believe being social, wanting to share information with others, helping each other, engaging in conversations, wanting to be a part of a group – are all natural for people characteristics – but when it comes to social learning and technology that could facilitate it, it needs a bit of push, a bit of direction and motivation (at least to get it started). And as you say, having the right mindset is essential. I think this whitepaper can be helpful if someone want’s to introduce social learning into a workplace and isn’t sure where to start. It has 8 steps to doing it in a successful way And thankyou for your post!

  6. Kavi says:

    Thank you for sharing. Have downloaded the whitepaper.

    The options to share and sharing to multiply its impact have gotten completely modified with technology. I look forward to reading the whitepaper with a fine tooth comb. Thanks again for sharing.

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