Social SM, Customer SM, Enterprise SM, and now the fourth (but not last!) SM: Personal SM. I think of personal SM as the collection of technologies and practices (note these are still entwined) support the development of personal intellectual and social capital.
Social media supports:
- Finding and making connections, for example with LinkedIn. You can find out about people and make yourself findable. I think we often overlook the latter aspect. It’s how you profile yourself that will determine who may find you. Think of LinkedIn as the intellectual capital connector.
- Keeping track. Facebook is terrific for keeping track of friends and family. This is the social capital connector. The bonds we make with people (even our professional friends) get a little stronger every time someone shares a photo or makes us laugh.
- Keeping up. Twitter provides the means to not just keep track 0f people, but to keep up with their thinking, their flow, their in-the-moment ahas, surprises, and questions. I love this quote from Jay Rosen:
“Twitter keeps me in touch with people who are friends of my ideas. I know about their projects and current obsessions; they know about mine.” (Emphasis mine.)
- Learning. And this is a really big, possibly the most important element. Harold Jarche has collected perspectives on social learning that bring this emerging work practice into focus. This is really big. Think where you would be without your daily news feed, without the wikis that generous collaboratives are using to pool their knowledge and understanding. It’s how we learn today, and how we will learn in the future.
- Creating. As Lilia Efimova has demonstrated through her years of blogging and her PhD thesis, knowledge workers use blogs to articulate and make sense of ideas, even fragments; to find people and be found and to form trusting relationships with them.
- C0-creating. I love the feeling of jointly editing a Google Doc while on the phone with creative people, watching the shared creation emerge in real time. “Waving” is like this as well: this is live learning and collaborating.
- Sharing experiences. Like many others, I’ve been captivated by Molly and her owlets, partly because it is fascinating to see this barn owl up close and personal, 24 hours a day, but also to know that others are experiencing it as well.
- Weaving. Social media lets us weave our networks tighter, close more triangles by letting us link to others in blogs, mention and retweet our connections to others.
Personal SM is embedded, or ought to be, in the other SMs, particularly, I think, Enterprise SM. It is the responsibility of the enterprise to ensure that employees are have the technologies of social media so that they can develop the work practices that support learning and creating.
When I opened this series, The Four SMs, I noted that I was mulling a fifth, but did not have a name for it. Lilia Efimova helped me out by suggesting the ways that social media is used for politics or activism and even suggested the name, “Cause SM.” I had been thinking “community SM” but the word community would get in the way of a future blog in this series on how communities are embedded in the Four SMs. So now I am thinking about this as “Crowd SM,” which could encompass the ways that social media are used to promote causes, but also to respond to crises and natural disasters, to call up collective wisdom, or to stream events. Still mulling, but there will be a Fifth SM, but to do many more would defeat the purpose of having a small but useful taxonomy.
There will also be more investigation on the issues and challenges that all SMs face in one way or another: community management, measurement, privacy and authentication, and managing the force of the flow.
First, I’m going to Social Media Edge in NYC, which will be live streamed. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with many of my personal SM connections and making some new ones.