Decision-making changes: Lip Service or Paradigm Shift

Don Bullmer, Vice President of Global Communications at SAP AG, and social media strategist Vanessa DiMauro, blog on a study that they “recently conducted as part of [their] fellowship with The Society for New Communications Research.” The study attempts to ultimately look at, “How do you use social networks to inform or support your decision making?” They list key points which they will be covering in the coming weeks. I thought we might share some of their ideas to see how they match up with what we are finding in the world of B2B technology marketing and IT communities.

Where are the low-hanging fruit?
Where are the low-hanging fruit?

The first of their findings …

“Professional decision-making is becoming more social – enter the era of Social Media Peer Groups (SMPG)
a. Traditional influence cycles are being disrupted by Social Media as decision makers utilize social networks to inform and validate decisions
b. Professionals want to be collaborative in the decision-cycle but not be marketed or sold to online; however online marketing is a preferred activity by companies.”

We don’t want folks to think this is some brand new phenomenon though so I feel like in all of these articles it is important to point out that none of this is new, and social peer groups online collaborating to make smart decisions goes back decades. We know this because we’ve watched it in our forums. Granted, our audience is all technical, but we’ve watched millions of chat room guests discuss making decisions on everything from the latest database tips to the best type of stroller for their newborns. I guess in our little IT world of early adopters, that is a given. The study they are discussing essentially points to those things we have found with the low hanging fruit set. LinkedIn has become the default professional network, with Facebook getting about half the play and Twitter trailing behind. Don writes that “Interestingly, Twitter and blogs were frequently listed as ‘professional networks.’”

top-spg-list-graphic

It’s hard to understand how anyone can be surprised at this since if you had fooled around with twitter even for personal things, you would quickly see it has tremendous potential for building communities faster than the rest, and, in many cases, far more serious communities. Maybe Don was saying something else? So LinkedIn is getting 90% coverage, which we know because we buy media space for our clients there, and we see Twitter as the coolest tool in the stack.

Sharing decision-making information is exactly what we have attempted to do for our community: provide a comfortable atmosphere to share ideas with peers and do so at your own pace with discretion. While we like LinkedIn for lots of things, it’s glaring profiles make discretion difficult. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just not necessarily where you can air your real opinions, or dirty laundry. Help us out here, please. Have you improved your decision-making prowess using any of the new social networking schema, or are you still using any old social networks to dig up the dirt on the latest hot thing? Tell us your story and become a star.

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