Social Media Will Become a Defining Issue for Business in 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Last week I was invited to participate in a wide-ranging discussion of economic and business issues on Almanac's business panel on Twin Cities Public Television with Chris Farrell and Professor Jeanne Boeh of Augsburg. One topic we discussed was the growing pervasiveness of social media and the behavioral trends it is spawning. We rely so much on pee r to peer networks and on machine intelligence to guide us on what and where and how we consume - and even who we share our lives with.

However, most CEOs are not particularly savvy about social media. Few of them blog or tweet or have a Facebook presence. Yet these are the front lines where opinions form, policy is influenced, and reputations are made and unmade. Whether or not you agree or disagree with SOPA and PIPA, the reality is that the muscle-flexing of social media and the internet have effectively killed the two bills, a powerful wake-up call to old ways of mobilizing for action. These are also the front lines of innovation, generating entirely new ways of creating, communicating, organizing and consuming, with the potential to disrupt traditional value chains and 'ways of doing' in many industries.

How will these trends affect higher education? How do we get ready to educate a generation that lives in a world of collaborative consumption, instant answers on the go, and constant connection to peers? Will each course have a mobile app? A Siri managing each student's day? Recommender systems matching students to courses? What do you think?

I am excited that researchers across the Carlson School are at the forefront of digging into some of the implications of social and digital media, whether it is on pricing in digital media markets, or on improving recommender systems, or running experiments on contagion and peer influence on Facebook, or exploring the impact of twitter chatter on stock prices!

We can expect some terrific discussions around these issues at the MISRC's Social Media Workshop next month, where some of the work being done at the Carlson School will be featured.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of social media, if you like this, do share it! :)

Business Panel