The U.S. Navy has a clue about Google+

Google+ is my social tool of choice these days, feeling more functional and valuable than Facebook, Twitter, et al. This is especially true for me because I’ve adopted so many parts of Google’s web ecosystem. Via a link posted by David Armano of Edelman, I’ve just found the most clueful Google+ overview I’ve seen – produced by the U.S. Navy.

David Armano’s social business manifesto

I just met Chris Carfi via Project VRM, and this week learned that he’s joining Edelman. David Armano, now with Edelman, blogged about this, and included his social business variation of the Carfi’s customer manifesto:

  • We will no longer view you as “consumers”. Instead, you are co-creators, participants, and advocates.
  • We will actively listen, and participate authentically because we know you demand nothing less.
  • We will meet you on your terms, not ours.
  • We will provide value, not noise.
  • We will evolve our workforce to meet the changing demands of a networked economy.
  • We will focus on your needs vs. our messages.
  • We will build relationships that connect us in ways where we all benefit.
  • We will act ethically and transparently, because it’s no longer a choice.
  • We will respond to changes quickly—we will adapt.
  • We will move forward with you, not without you, because you are our future.

Is this a transformation of the organization? Great customer-centered orgs always come from a similar attitude, but there’s a sense of urgency here – this is what you have to do, because you’re in a media environment that embraces transparency – you’re in the participatory panopticon – and is about symmetrical relationship. So this isn’t just good advice, it’s survival training for the networked world.

Put “social” before “media”

Todd Defren, guest-blogging on David Armano’s blog, says

When every single person with an Internet connection is empowered to publish content that can be promoted, shared, and indexed forever, it changes the game from “merchandizing” to “people pleasing.” It was always supposed to be that way, of course, but the myriad layers that existed between the brand and the masses called for more quantifiable processes: “how many visits to the website” trumped “are we making people happy?”

I can’t think of a clearer way to make that point. He goes on to make the point I’ve been trying to make for the last four years, since I started writing, thinking, and talking about what’s come to be called “social media” – it’s more about the social, less about the media. Businesses at every scale have to learn to enable, manage, and nurture relationships – with peers, with employees and contractors, and especially with customers. We have technologies that support and sustain those relationships, so everything is disintermediated, we can be more direct with everybody, we can make amazing and fulfilling connections every day… but we have to get past the abstract thinking that characterized broadcast thinking, mass marketing. (Thinking how, several years ago, I pissed off a potential client who kept talking about the role of the consumer on the “web 2.0” site he wanted to build. I finally wrote the word consumer on the board, drew a circle around it, and a line through the circle. There is no consumer, I told him. These are people, and you’ll have to build relationships with them… the consumer abstraction will get in the way. Ouch. He didn’t like that at all…) [Link]