Open SoSiSocial Signal open sources its social media consulting practice
- 15 October, 2009
- 15 comments
It's Social Signal's fourth anniversary. But rather than breaking open the champagne, we're breaking open the vault that contains everything we've learned over the past four years.
We're taking the intellectual property we've generated and gleaned from Social Signal's four years of consulting, strategy and development and making it available for free online, under a Creative Commons license.
We launched Social Signal four years ago because we were thrilled by the advent of Web 2.0 - what we now call "social media". We saw a new medium that supported the best approaches to organizational decision-making and community engagement: approaches that were decentralized, bottom-up, and participatory. And we saw a new set of technologies born from the best of hacker culture: an open source software movement that created code in a way that was, yes, decentralized, bottom-up, and participatory.
Four years of experience with social media have only deepened our belief in its transformative potential for businesses, communities and individuals. In that time, we've helped to create more than 25 online communities and social media sites across the web, from NetSquared to Tyze and most recently, Be a Superhero! and Power the Games. Working with clients who shared our excitement about the social web, we've seen how engaging with social media helped them extend their reach, deepen their relationships and maximize their impact.
We've learned a lot in those four years. About what it takes for organizations to commit to a medium that demands transparency and authenticity, about what it takes to build a community and bring it to life, and about what it takes to build a sustainable and profitable social media agency.
While we were building our own knowledge and practice, we also saw the field of social media take shape… slowly.
Sure, people now (mostly) know what social media is -- and we can't overstate how helpful that has been to the challenge of explaining why social media is worth doing. But it's still very unclear what constitutes a social media professional (thus the backlash against social media "experts"), where social media should sit within organizations, or how to buy social media services. Every social media creator, department and agency is inventing their own definition of how to "do" social media -- just as marketers, h.r. professionals and management consultants had to define their fields a generation or two ago.
We created Social Signal to have an impact -- a big one. But the way we've gone about it - building individual communities, coaching our clients, and sharing high-level insights on our blog - can only take our impact so far, so quickly.
To have the impact we want - to build a field, and not just a business - we're shifting our focus away from implementing specific social media projects. That work has always included a big chunk of capacity building; now we're going to put capacity building at the centre so we can support many more professionals and organizations through trainings, workshops, speeches, and writing on social media.
But we don't want to limit ourselves to the people we can reach through those vehicles. So we're going to share what we know with the entire field of communicators, leaders and social media professionals. We're going to share it with every organization building a social media team, every communicator honing their social media skills, and every agency now offering social media services. We're going to share it with you.
We're starting today with the ingredients for the Concept Jam: the participatory workshop-centered process that we use to help clients generate innovative, effective concepts for social media initiatives.
This is uncharted territory. Like most consultants out there, we've built our business partly around the competitive edge of keeping our know-how to ourselves. While we've seen that developers can succeed while sharing their code, we don't know for sure if that same principle extends to strategic advice and core methodologies. And the actual effort of putting this stuff online is a bit daunting: much of our content needs to be reorganized and reformatted so that it will make sense to other people, and so that it protects our clients' confidentiality.
To get past the terror, we're going to treat the next 30 days as both an experiment and a challenge. How much of our work can we share, how quickly can we share it, and how will that sharing transform both what we do and how we do it? We've got a few hunches, so over the next 30 days, we'll also share some additional news about how we're reorganizing the business to build on an open source consulting model and refocus on capacity-building.
We truly believe that social media holds the potential to transform businesses seeking resilience in the face of volatility; to transform communities in the face of isolation; to bring people on the path to sustainability. We hope that sharing what we've learned will help all of us realize that potential.
How to to be part of Open SoSi
To stay up-to-date on our Open SoSi releases:
- Visit the Open SoSi page on Social Signal's web site
- Subscribe to the RSS feed for our open-sourced IP
- Sign up for Open SoSi releases by email
- Follow Social Signal on Twitter for the latest releases and other social media tips
To join the Open SoSi discussion: