You’ve all heard the term "Content is King". Well Mark Pesce has coined a new term "Connection is King" to describe the importance of the global connections that are forming between people.
These connections are at various levels, and are created and reinforced with social messaging services such as twitter. In his blog post here, Mark gives examples of how this can empower people in a fashion not seen previously. We are finding out about things and events before the classical media or "Command-and-Control" organizational structure has even acknowledged them.
Now I wrote some time ago, a blog entry "What is Content?". In it, I eluded to the implications of controlling content, but also after I watched Mark’s presentation, on the subject, I can equally see the implications of controlling connections. The internet is allowing connections to be formed, especially in areas of similar interest, quickly.
In the late 80s, when I entered the workforce, outside of my social connections, my connections in my profession were formed first through education and then secondly through the people that I interacted with to perform my daily work. This set of connections has grown steadily as I have moved between various positions and been involved with different technologies. I’ve commented about the strength of these connections, when I was discussing my Spheres of Influence, previously.
What is true now is that the current set of social messaging services, is allowing me to accelerate the connections that I am making. Some are within my geographic location, and others are within Australia, and more importantly many are bridging the great divide of distance from Australia.
Every now and then, I’m reminded that I live at the edge. That is, that many people working in organizations have these social tools blocked. A couple of weeks ago, I learned one organisation had banned LinkedIn, a business connections tool, from behind their firewall. I’d found a previous work associate, and had wandered why the person had not responded to my connection request. Phoned the company, ask for the person, started talking (he was pleased to hear from me) and then found out about the LinkedIn issue. I was amazed!
Organisations perceive these social tools, as lost productivity. In essence, they are saying use classical means to maintain these connections and keep the connections related specifically for your current work. Mark, in the prementioned blog, introduced the possible repercussions to business executives, if they misbehave, through these connected communities. The more access, and the more extended the connections, the more quickly the information will be transmitted. This can have long lasting repercussion, for those business executives. Blocking access to these social tools, during the work day, does not stop the transmission it merely delays it temporarily.
Now this concept reminded me, about the change that is occurring today in content, there is the traditional media, those that control channels of content delivery, and citizen journalist, the voice of the millions on the internet. The same issues are arising with connections, except it is business who maybe are looking to control those connections, much the same way as traditional media, controls mainstream content.
I would say it is better for organisations to look to harness this capability in a way that is beneficial to them. These connections will keep forming, regardless of measures that may be implemented during the working day.