Wikinomics, MacroWikinomics and WikiRevolutions

Just back from the Gartner Portals and Collaboration Conference this past week in LA. It was a very interesting show with a broad range of content topics covered. Lovely hotel the JW Marriott at LA Live (yes, an iron and more washcloths than I could possibly use.) and the lobby was bustling with activity on the night Lady Gaga was playing at the Staples Center.  People watching at its finest!

Don Tapscott, accomplished author of numerous titles, but perhaps best known more recently for “Wikinomics” was the keynote address at the end of the show. His talk was fascinating on many levels, though it was clear that 60 minutes just wasn’t enough. I felt like he could have gone for 2 solid hours.

Tapscott shared some vivid stories of how the face of revolution changed dramatically in Northern Egypt through the use of social tools. Though careful to state that social media did not cause the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, rather it was the foundation upon which revolution was spread.  This is truly crowdsourcing revolution, or “WikiRevolutions” as one slide was titled.

He told the story of how people on the ground in Tunisia who were getting fired on by government snipers were able to use social tools to triangulate the coordinates of the snipers and communicate those locations to revolutionary forces who were able to take out the snipers. And this was perhaps the most vivid example of how Digital Natives (he considers himself a Digital Immigrant incidentally) adapt technology for their own needs in powerful and unpredicted ways.  I am pretty sure there isn’t an app for that.

These kinds of behaviors that are ingrained in the current generation entering the workforce have wide ranging implications for all manners of corporations and managers. Tapscott shared how one government agency turned off access to Facebook and a 27 year old worker was quoted as saying “That is the single most demoralizing thing that they could have done.”

This is not a community to force fit into the structures and constraints of yesterday. This is a community to empower with tools and open-ness that will challenge all of us to think very differently. As marketers we need to understand the new rules of engagement. One that is defined by the terms Context, Community, Engagement and Open. How do we provide freedom to address our community of buyers to create a community around our products, allow them to engage with them in new and interesting ways and then step back and listen?

I am personally more energized than ever to explore these new channels and new opportunities. Tapscott shared this quote near the beginning of the talk:

“The future is not something to be predicted. The future should be achieved.”

Let’s go achieve our future together.



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