7:11 AM

User-Generated Content: The Game-Changer towards Enterprise 3.0

How have your behavior, actions - even beliefs, changed over the last year or two? I'm willing to bet your behavior and actions on making a purchase have changed and I'll go out on a limb to say that it's because of User-Generated content.
Sidebar: "User" generated content...really? Why is it that only drug dealers and techies call their consumers "users"? I've seen some references to "consumer' generated content... well, I'd say that users are consumers (by any definition, not just techies and drug dealers). My point is that in this social, collaborative and connected world, we use a term that de-humanizes content created by people when we call it 'user' ... I digress....

The world is a mash-up. And User Generated Content is at the heart of it. The impact of UGC on the B2C world - and increasingly B2B world is significant. You can read more about my POV on UGC and how it impacts the business world in the March edition of KM World Magazine at UGC KM World Magazine

What is more interesting is the 'mash-up'. UGC is the collision of the business and consumer world - no matter if you're a B2C, B2B or government organization. It's the new reality. Are you ready for it?

1. People talk. The fancy new term for it is, "Word of Mouth". Whether you're a vet, a grocery store, restaurant or major brand - people are now empowered to share their experience, their POV, their recommendation - whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, the more they DON'T like it, the more likely they are to tell others about it. AKA: Misery loves company. The personal and consumer world has infiltrated the business/corporate/government operating environment - what's your plan to embrace it and use it as a source for change/improvement?

2. People talk ALL THE TIME - and increasingly (thanks to the social infrastructure) to people whom they've never met before. We're tweeting and status updating and LinkedIn'ing our opinions, interests and beliefs all the time to the masses in the Cloud. 
The business world needs to accept that when people have something to say - ready or not - there it is: tweeted, retweeted, Facebook status update, etc. It's for all to see. The sad irony is that when we we've had a great experience, we relish in our contentment and have a great day. When it goes sideways: we're on our iPhone, Blackberry or other device to tweet about it before the situation/incident has even concluded. In many instances, the world could be notified of it before you are - and before having the opportunity to correct it.

3. People have influence and impact on your business, brand: The champion of mind-controlling tapeworms (a great profile I came across on Twitter) could be as influential as CNN. We're all publishers and media outlets! This could mean that the person from high school who you can only recollect as being the recipient of wedgies, is now the person with significant influence over your brand.. .subsequently your company's brand equity... subsequently, the company's EPS. No joke, if you aren't paying attention to or embracing UGC, it could be too late when you do. You may think wedgie-tapeworming guy doesn't matter, but the reality is that you should care that much more!

Bottom line: hellooooo brand new world. The Madmen of the 60's no longer dictate. This is not a command and control Marketing 1.0 world. The upside of Marketing 2.0 (enter UGC): the inmates ARE running the asylum and calling out the perpetrators of bad business, bad practices, bad... well... just being bad. If that's not you - or your business - then you have nothing to worry about. Even then, drop your guard for good service, good business, good practice - let's just hope that Guy K or someone else who's listed 24,000 times on Twitter doesn't hear about it first.

We're evolving from the Enterprise/Web 2.0 world of Engagement to the new 3.0 world of Participation. Consumers are engaged and now participating far more frequently on Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog sites, Online communities, etc. And there are millions of them out there. It's an exciting time when your words - your voice - matter and have impact.  For the business and government world - I hope you're listening.