In the Search for Social as I call it, people have been mesmerising, stating and claiming success for the Social Movement in various ways.
Email has been condemned to death as that wouldn’t be fit for the Brave New World, Facebook has been proclaimed the best way to interact with your users or customers, Twitter has been and even I’ve tried to explain the reason behind Social in my Social Business (R)evolution.
However, I now have found the true reason for Social’s Success: it’s the fact that its tools are closed and centralised – exactly that what is battled against by most if not all Social Advocates.
What do I mean by closed? Like I state in Open means bidirectional – please stop abusing the word, Open is full disclosure from both directions. It describes the architecture of an application or system, the client-side, but also the server-side. The code is open and downloadable for all, can be amended, changed, re-used in full, etcetera.
A great example of Open social media tools is Internet Relay Chat.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message as well as chat and data transfer (including file sharing).
IRC was invented in 1988 – but didn’t become Facebook- or Twitter-size. Why not? It was Open. Everyone could run his own IRC server, IRC client, and there wasn’t One Stream to tap into.
Before that, there was Usenet. Usenet was invented in 1979. Like IRC,
Usenet is distributed among a large, constantly changing conglomeration of servers that store and forward messages to one another in so-called news feeds. Individual users may read messages from and post messages to a local server operated by their Internet service provider (ISP), university, or employer.
Both Usenet as IRC were highly decentralised, and basically everyone could run their part or version of it although in Usenet’s case that was left to ISP’s alone.
Since then, forums and marketplaces rose on top of the Internet, and nowadays there are many free or paid tools such as phpBB, Drupal and others that will allow anyone to run a place where people meet.
All those are Open. All those are decentralised. Twitter isn’t, nor is Facebook. There’s only one Twitterstream, one Facebookstream, one place to go and log in, and you can access it from the outside but certainly not from the inside. You can API your way in but not out, and in a word Twitter and Facebook have simply become a scarce economic good this way.
Email suffered from the same decentralised and open fate. A brilliant mechanism and a true network like IRC and Usenet, impossible to control or tear down. Whatever new ways of collaboration and business are envisioned by Social People, these three “tools” been there done that centuries ago.
Where Social People despise the current hierarchical ways of enterprises (count me in by the way) where everything is under one single Command and Control, they haven’t hesitated to surrender to the C&C of Twitter and Facebook.
Where Twitter has left its users fairly alone, Facebook has been bullying its users out of privacy and into the arms of marketeers, and very few if not none effectively protested. Facebook closely resembles an old-fashioned enterprise where upper management keeps changing the rules during the game, and won’t listen to objections unless they’re supported by a relative majority.
This 2.0 world of Social has been made possible by sticking to a 1.0 setup. Funny? I think so.