Business As Usual: What I Have Learned In The Year Of Social

I have to confess something : I don’t like New Year. In fact, I don’t like artificial and commercial festivities at all. Especially if they go hand in hand with traditions such as celebrating them every year with the same people you don’t really like. You can’t always get what you want though, right?

This year there hasn’t been that much room to party and celebrate. It was all about building, connecting, working and growing. There are a lot of changes going on in my line of business: marketing. And I love them. Especially the renaissance of content, the fact that companies start to remember there is such a thing as a customer who needs attention again and, my favourite one, that some people start to see that it’s not about media or technology but about what you do with them. All obvious, all forgotten.

Privately, you do with media and technology what you want. In business, you use them to create value for your customers and your business. Period.

The main thing I have learned in business this year is the same thing as last year and all the years before that.

1. There is no brave new world
2. People haven’t become more social
3. In the end, it’s still a very selfish industry
4. Sometimes you get stabbed in the back by people who smile at you

Sounds depressing? Well, it’s not. It’s business as usual.

Social Capital “And Quid Pro Quo”

The best thing that happened to me is that I got in touch with some genuine people and even some people that actually care. I met many of them “online”. Social, email, whatever. Some of them turned out to be what I didn’t expect, others turned out to be more. Some became friends, a few really good, challenging, fun and nice customers and some vampires. That’s life. Online and offline.

The “quid pro quo” that exists in all human relationships, even in those where it doesn’t matter in the short term and where you make the balance over many years, doesn’t exist enough in business life yet.

That’s OK. It means we’ll still have work in 2011.

Businesses that do not value their social capital and human interactions and do not improve the “quid pro quo” will increasingly be confronted with problems. The same goes for the world of consultants, experts, bloggers, media and so on. It’s not the social world as it may seem to the neutral observer. Sometimes it’s a very nasty one, trust me.

But at least now the observer has a voice. And so have I.

Use your voice. Don’t let anyone silence you. Now and in 2011.

Thanks to the friends for the friendship and making it so interesting. Thanks to the others for the lessons.

Happy New Year.