by Gary Beach

How Are You as a Social Networker?

May 14, 20072 mins
InternetIT Leadership

Doing business today means connecting with everyone.

As I prepped for a recent panel on CIOs and social networking, I had a brainstorm. (Well, maybe it was a light drizzle.)

If business today is all about interaction (facilitated by the Web and its attendant technologies), it makes sense to add four new (and somewhat non­intuitive) acronyms to the e-commerce alphabet soup: C2C (consumer to consumer), P2P (prospect to prospect), C2P (consumer to prospect) and C2B (consumer to business).

(While the twentysomething Web 2.0 crowd likes to think it coined the phrase social networking, it didn’t. The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual, published way back in 1999, is for many of us the seminal work on the economic impact of the IT-connected marketplace.)

Last month the Pew Research Center added to the growing body of work on social networking by releasing a report that identifies 10 types of Net users. Among others, they include “Omnivores,” who consume information, goods and services at a high rate; “Mobile-Centrics,” who are strongly attached to cell phones and mobile applications; and “Indifferents,” who have a fair amount of technology at hand but do not allow it to play a central role in their daily lives.

So what’s the big deal about social networks, new acronyms, Omnivores and Indifferents?

The big deal is this: As your firm continues to drive a growth-and-innovation agenda, your customers and prospects ultimately will determine the degree to which you succeed. So CIOs need to ask themselves, Is my infrastructure sufficiently robust to encourage and support social networking among customers and prospects?

As they say in New England, customers are “wicked smart.” They know what they want, they know how to get it, and they’re doing so by leveraging the power of social networks to reach out to vendors, other customers and prospects.

It’s worth reading the Pew Research report. You can find it here or send me an e-mail and I will forward the pdf of the report to you.