Is social media today the grain of sand that will become tomorrow’s pearl in the analyst ecosystem?

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWhile getting significant buzz, the use of social media in the analyst ecosystem is still at a nascent stage. Some analysts and AR professionals are making interesting use of blogs, Twitter, and so on, but for the most part social media is just being played with a little or being ignored all together. Those members of the ecosystem who are not seriously looking at social media might wake up one day to find that social media has become a force and they are seriously and dangerously behind the curve. 

A natural pearl occurs when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, gets inside an oyster’s shell which the oyster cannot expel. The oyster then starts to secrete a mixture of aragonite and conchiolin in minute layers around the irritant to coat it and reduce the irritation. Over time, many many layers of coating transform the grain of sand into a beautiful pearl. This is an apt metaphor for social media because definitely some members of the community, analysts and AR teams, consider social media an irritant and have yet see the slow transformation that is happening around it.

Major changes in a market or form of communications are often not via a big bang, but by the accretion of little changes that reach a critical mass. The individuals or companies who benefit the most from these changes are the ones who notice the little things early and start experimenting with the new techniques and technologies. In that way once the trend does reach critical mass they are in position to fully exploit the opportunities while competitors are scrambling chaotically to catch up.

Not every information technology, telecommunications, and services market will have its ways of communication among the members upended by social media in the same way or at the same time. In some cases, there will be a big bang as a superstar on the analyst or vendor side implements social media to change the rules of the game. In other cases it will be the slow adoption of social media in little ways by many members of the market that one day produces a pearl.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Keep your finger on the pulse of change
  • Start simple
  • Embrace social media then experiment and adapt
  • Incorporate social media into your AR plan
  • Add social media to your measurement program
  • Use tools like RSS and TweetDeck to reduce effort

Bottom Line: With more and more analysts blogging, tweeting, and participating in communities, AR programs and analysts that do not systematically add social media to their toolbox will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Both analysts and AR managers need to make adopting social media, with the appropriate emphasis, a major objective for the second half of 2009.

Question: AR managers – What are the reasons, in priority order, why you do not incorporate blogging and tweeting into your mix of interactions? Analysts – Which AR teams or individuals are best at using social media?

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