It never used to be called “social media”. eBay and Amazon never talked of “social media” - they talked about “service” and “community”. They spoke of the potency of The Web to smash old business models, flatten out-dated hierarchies and wrench power away from the centre and towards the edges to create new types of value exchange. Communications is but a tiny fragment of this revolution - albeit massively interesting and important - and yet it’s the campaign-flavoured, comms-focused stuff that defines - and limits - “social media” for most businesses.
So winning enterprises are those that conceive of themselves as inter-connected business webs or trading communities held together by a common customer. The customer sits at the centre of an orbit not at the end of a chain. Winning enterprises are those with the most “intelligence” – i.e. are able to sense and respond to visitor needs in real time. They are able to exchange and circulate this intelligence to all members of the community so that the visitor’s whole experience is a positive one.