<a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Future-Exit-Sign-000018627375XSmall.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3756" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Future-Exit-Sign-000018627375XSmall-150x150.jpg" alt="Future-Exit-Sign-000018627375XSmall" width="150" height="150" /></a>Regular readers know that I am very much a watcher of change in the work place. This is one of the reasons Jon Glesinger and I started <a href="http://www.glexnet.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">GleXnet</a> all those years ago.

For reasons that will become obvious over the next few weeks – I find myself more and more talking to people about why part of the Future of Work is about extracting ourselves from Industrial Age Thinking – and understanding that “the future is already here … its just not very evenly distributed” … as William Gibson said over twenty years ago.

It still isn’t – but if you look around – it is being applied. And more of that to come in future posts.

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            <a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/signpost.jpeg"><img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3666" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/signpost-150x150.jpeg" alt="signpost" width="150" height="150" /></a>Sometimes Grammar Nazis are really funny - and sometimes they are a pain in the neck, and if you <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4vf8N6GpdM" rel="nofollow">watch this video</a> you’ll see what I mean. But there is no smoke without fire.

I had an email exchange recently through one of the many lists I belong to. I popped in and dropped my usual pithy comment and back, (rather unusually actually), came a reply; telling me that I was ‘splitting hairs’. The writer went on to write – “Consumer = user = audience = customer, etc.” I do hope that I am not seen as a grammar nazi, but if that’s what it takes to get people to think about how we use language, so be it.

Language is essential to be able to convey the true meaning of what we are saying. There is a reason that the OED contains nearly 200,000 words and each of the words do have different meanings.

We live in an industrialized world where the language of the military was co-opted by business to describe what it was doing. Think of words and phrases like ‘corporate officer’, ‘strategy’, ‘plan of attack’ .. heavens – even Reid Hoffman was quoted in the Marc Andreesen article in the New Yorker this month …

“I look to see if someone has a marine strategy, for taking the beach; an army strategy, for taking the country; and a police strategy, for governing the country afterward.”

… the ‘someone’ is the exec in a pitch meeting with Reid and Greylock on their latest business idea.

Over the years the brand / enterprise / corporate speak that has dominated our culture for decades is now in the day to day language of people. If we continue to use the language of the enterprise to describe what we want as people  we will fail to take back our humanity. That is the topic of a third article that I hope to see published in a series I have recently written.

So … what do I mean ?

Consider Twitter … (just to pick one of the many options).

  • As a user of twitter I am absolutely not a ‘customer’, I am a ‘user’
  • For their ‘customers’, (those who Twitter sell things like placement of messages to), I am indeed part of that customer’s ‘audience’.
  • To Twitter, I am also probably part of their ‘product’.

My point is that the definition of who I am is highly contextual when it comes to me the individual. On the other hand it serves Enterprises well to conflate the definitions. Broadening my example base, why wouldn’t Facebook want to call me ‘their customer’ … doesn’t that sound better than their ‘user’ or even their ‘product’? And corporate speak is renowned for brevity and over simplification.

But there’s more. Vendors, brands, enterprises have lived in their industrialized world for too long. If they call all of us customers, then there is already a set up in play – you are already a customer, you are part of the ‘collective’. In fact, Salesforce actually see the internet as “An Internet of Customers”. Seriously ? And though this link might seem to be buried – these were the words that Marc Benioff used when they launched Salesforce1.

I have a bit of a thing going at the moment about people and their individuality, one example in this article just published last week – where I write:

As people, we need the power to manage brands, let alone just keep them at bay. Are we just going to roll over and allow brands, corporations, governments, data agencies, and the like to keep building bigger and more personal profiles about us? Or are we — as John Lennon would have it — really going to give “Power to the People“?

I believe that it is incumbent on any community that it is attempting to change the status quo to be absolutely precise about what it means. If we switch and interchange terms without thought, the message becomes garbled – and it will be co-opted to their detriment to prove an alternative point. More importantly, if we simply adopt the language of the previous system – we will also adopt the behaviors, the methods, the … nothing will change. And the fact is, change is going to happen. I just want it on our terms, not theirs.

What do you think ? Is it time to bring clarity to how we communicate ?

Post Script ::: BTW – I hope you will agree that I have clearly demonstrated by the use of language in this article that I am incapable of being a Grammar Nazi 🙂

            <a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Harold-Wilson.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-3614" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Harold-Wilson-1024x400.jpg" alt="Harold Wilson" width="1024" height="400" /></a>

I am Old Labour.
I view that social cohesion, competition and the common interest are of paramount and intertwined importance.

I am a social capitalist.

I view that our purpose should be a better and fairer society for all. To create political freedom, I reject the notions of economic and social subservience. I hold to a view of  common interest above self interest. I do not view the market as a source of ‘good’ or our goal but a tool to be used and exploited to achieve our purpose.

… not my original words – but this of Simon Wardley

his full text can be read here.

… Those that track my words will know why these words resonated. ‘New Labor’ destroyed the labor party. They kinda set themselves up as a “tory lite” – if that’s not too generous. ‘Bliar’ (sic) in particular was a disgrace – but there you go – maybe it’s just me. But – apparently not …

My party passed into history in May 1994. One day, it might return. Until such time, I have no-one to vote for.

… In case you are not tracking – the date that Simon is referring to is when John Smith (not one of Old Labours most charismatic leaders IMHO .. but definitely a change agent, and one of the good guys) passed away after a massive heart attack. From that moment the Bliar camp took control – essentially destroying the British two party system on his way to destroying Britain. It took a while for the British to recognize who he was – and what ‘New Labour’ stood for .. but suffice to say that being a Bush puppet – while it works well for him in America – over in the UK – not so much.

May 5th 2005 (10 years as I write) was the third and final election of Bliar to PM – and is the LAST time Labour won a majority in the British Parliament. That is not to say I whole heartedly support Mr. Cameron and the Conservatives either – they too run with their challenges – but they do not run on lies, deceit and chicanery that IS New Labour. Seemingly not even ‘Marxist Ed’ could change that course – and once again Labour is on the down (Proportional Representation aside).

I of course know nothing – but in my opinion this will continue until they take a long hard look at themselves and once again stand up for themselves and represent the people of the country – not to simply hijack popular viewpoints to win elections – and then implement American policy.

            <strong><a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/unused-words-logo-for-web.png"><img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3590" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/unused-words-logo-for-web-150x150.png" alt="Unused Words" width="150" height="150" /></a>Just submitted a couple of articles to the big wide world - and these words ended up on the 'cutting room floor'. Wanted to keep them for posterity. Pertinent.</strong>

For an organization to wonder who owns a process (even a process that is a misnomer) reflects on the never-ending problems that organizations have – the silos. Look into your own organization, your customers, your vendors – and ‘dollar to a donut’ you will quickly find teams where ‘social’, ‘web’, ’email’, ‘events’, ‘sales’, ‘support’, ‘accounts’ …. are teams in different groups – with different objectives, goals and even reporting lines.

No wonder our customers are confused.

Silos exist because the ‘command and control’ mentality remains strong in the enterprise. Until that is broken, customer centricity will remain at best a veneer and at worst – organizational death.

As for social sales – to me – it is the same as it ever was, barring the intermediate 100 years or so while the sales process has been industrialized. It is not new – it is what sales should be but we just lost our way. Just as we are discovering that industrializing our food chain was maybe not the best idea, or that applying manufacturing processes to our children’s education was ill conceived, so too we are needing to relearn that selling is about relationships and adding value.


            <a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ben-Thompson.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-3329" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ben-Thompson-200x300.jpg" alt="Benjamin" width="200" height="300" /></a>Another excellent article from <a href="http://stratechery.com/2015/facebook-and-the-feed/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Thompson</a> at Stratechery. But couldn't help but notice his comment "Everyone loves to mock Paul Krugman’s <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/19980610100009/www.redherring.com/mag/issue55/economics.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1998 contention</a> about the limited economic impact of the Internet:"

The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in “Metcalfe’s law” – which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants – becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other!

I think there is nothing to mock – and Krugman was spot on. People generally do have nothing to say to each other. Check out most of the pages on Facebook – banality and ‘check out this’ tends to be the order of the day. True – Ben goes on to say

Was Krugman wrong because he didn’t appreciate the relative worth people put on what folks in their network wanted to say, or because he didn’t appreciate that people in their network may not have much to say but a wealth of information to share?

… so he does recognize that really what is going on is sharing – and amplification … rarely interesting conversation (I set the FB group world aside on this) is rare.

So is Facebook destined to simply become a mass media amplification system ?

            <a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/fivesenses_01.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3507" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/fivesenses_01-150x57.jpg" alt="fivesenses_01" width="150" height="57" /></a>(Sight and Sound ... check)

Sight | Sound | Touch | Smell | Taste …. three down …. two to go … at least that is how I see ‘The Watch’ – the first device to connect people across the internet through touch …

Update Wednesday 8th April : Interesting to read this today …

What the telephone was for voice, what video was for seeing, Apple Watch is for touch. No, you’re not really touching someone, but when you call someone, you’re not really hearing them, either. When you FaceTime them, you’re not really seeing them, you’re looking at a picture of them on a screen. But a phone call feels like you’re talking to someone. A FaceTime call feels like you’re looking at someone. And with digital touch on Apple Watch, it feels, in a very real sense, like you’re touching and being touched by another person.

… on Daring Fireball. I guess we agree 🙂 (Oh and a very complete review By the way.)

            <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Eat-Crow.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-3457" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Eat-Crow.jpg" alt="Eat Crow" width="750" height="600" /></a><a href="http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/storage/eatcrow.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1271339938490" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Original - and Love it Doug Johnson</a></p>        

            <a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/images1.jpeg"><img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3401" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/images1-150x150.jpeg" alt="images" width="150" height="150" /></a>Sangeet continues the drum beat of 'Platformed'. I reference and 'borrow' his thinking a lot - but don't always post here. This time I make an exception, because it clearly explains what I have been trying to get people to understand for the last two years. Bottom line, he examines the roadmap to success for Social companies in the <strong>consumer</strong> space. In passing flagging why Friendster and MySpace stalled. Then moving into the world that I remain get fixated on .. <strong>The Social Enterprise. </strong>(no - that isn't allowing people access to Facebook in  the workplace).

Sangeet calls out the 5 stages of Social Adoption, which for simplicity I repeat here – but you can also get the full story – with context here.

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