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The Six C's of Social Technology

For most of us, February [2012] and the [8th Anniversary of the] founding of Facebook came and left quietly. And yet, it was an event that will change the world forever. Looking back, this presents itself as a fitting launchpad for us to review the emergence and growth of social data to date. From there, we then project 8 years hence to 2020, delivering insights on the impact of social data and technologies going forward.

he list of social technologies goes on, but what we are observing is a radical shift in the scale of information flow in and between the communities that we reside in. This was simply unimaginable in as short as eight years ago. In 2004, online strategy teams in recognition of the value of a read-write web were advocating a framework of three C’s: Content, Community and Commerce. These three words define concepts that were championed by the three dominant companies of the period: Content via Google, Community via Facebook and Commerce via Amazon. Together they created the new online eco-system for businesses and individuals back then.

This eco-system generated by the trio of C’s of the early century has not remained static. In recent years, we began to observe whole new developments in technical infrastructure for Cloud Computing, Software as a Service and a distribution system for mobile applications. Drawing from Tim O’Reilly’s definition of Web 2.0, this phenomenon represented a radical change in the online engagement model for leading-edge organizations from ‘publishing’ to ‘participation’.

As such, despite being once considered as the Holy Grail of online strategy, the three C’s are now finding themselves supplanted with new ideas. From a close examination of the most recent trends, we can add three further C’s: Context, Connection and Conversation. Deeply rooted in Social Data, these concepts are now defining the latest business models and the evidence is mounting towards their success.

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