Apples and oranges Social is the first truly new gift to humanity that the Internet has ever given us. It makes sense that it is going to take some time and a little effort to understand it and let it soak into our daily lives because nothing about it feels natural to anyone in the beginning.

Postal Mail Goes Digital

First, the business world was given email. Some whined and complained about this new intrusion of technology (and expectation of quicker response times) into our daily work lives, but we adapted quite easily because we understood it immediately.

We've had postal mail for centuries and this was just an electronic version of it. We all "got" it.

Print Materials Go Online

Then came the business web with the release of Netscape and the modern web browser that let us easily "surf" web pages made by fellow business people, academics, and government. Many resisted the demands their customers placed on them to make their information known through the web but we all eventually found our way there and built web pages for our businesses.

We understood it simply because the early business web really just took the information from our print materials - brochures, business cards etc. - and put it on this new digital interface. Just a fancy version of our print materials, right?

Social Media Enables Digital Humans

But then social media emerged that allowed one or a massive number of people to connect to one or a massive number of people with text, voice, video and more and that has never been possible before in human history. Anybody can produce a media empire, free of the financial and infrastructure barriers that used to exist in earlier eras.

Social media enables digital humanity. That's a statement that is almost meaningless as social media is just social now. It's not the special circumstance in which we connect like a conference used to be, it's now the main method of connecting. If it isn't for you, should it be? Or does your business have a few good reasons for not becoming social?

Social is not a new internet. It is you - online. The social layer is the layer of human meaning and stickiness to an otherwise cold digital channel. Embracing that human element and making it work for your business is the pursuit of becoming a social business.