Where are you on the Purist-Corporatist scale?
by Josh Bernoff
My post on Purists and Corporatists kicked up some dust. WOMMA put it on their list of stuff to read. And Shel Israel explained that he's not a purist, he works with companies. But I still think there's some difference between his position and mine. While Shel agrees with me that there are two camps, he appears to see them as the authentic types and those who are going to force marketing messages down our throats.
But this is my platform, and while I want to be part of the dialogue, I'll define my terms my way. Right now I want to see where my readers come down.
In the continuum below, the groundswell I refer to consists of ALL social applications -- not just blogs, but wikis, user-generated video and audio, social networks, ratings and reviews, twitter -- any application that allows people to connect and draw strength from each other.
10 = The groundswell is such a powerful force, the people in it will always prevail. All companies can do is watch and listen. Their employees can participate, but only as independent people. Corporate efforts are doomed to fail.
7 = The groundswell is powerful, but companies have a role in it. Groups of people inside of enterprises can get together and make themselves heard. Even so, the groundswell will always prevail over their interests.
5 = Companies belong in the groundswell. They have interests just as the people do. They will set up corporate efforts -- presences in places like Facebook or their own corporate blogs -- and connect with their customers. They can't shut down or co-opt people in the groundswell, but they can form meaningful relationships with them. And they can accomplish goals like marketing or collaborative innovation, if they respect that they're not in charge.
2 = Corporations and other major institutions are powerful and will always be powerful. This so-called "groundswell" is similar to any other medium -- people are there consuming it, and corporations can reach them within that medium. Flare-ups of negative publicity can be contained or at least "handled" so they cause minimal damage.
0 = Corporations have power because they have money. This groundswell thing is a flash in the pan and it doesn't matter. If it gets too far out of hand we'll buy it and make sure we control it.
Sure, I've set up an arbitrary continuum, but it reflects the range of opinions I'm seeing out there. Now it's your turn. Please comment. In your comment, please tell me:
What number on the continuum best describes your attitude?
What number best describes your boss' attitude?
What do you estimate is the average attitude among businesspeople you know?