We Are Carrying too Many Cards? Someone Needs to Solve This Problem

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by: Idris Mootee

I’ve come up with two great ideas today. Here’s a big one for Facebook ….create a digital card that can replaces all the membership cards to replace all the cards that we carry and jam our wallets. Make it the size of an iPhone and I can just flip through my card on a touch screen. Or make that application reside on an iPhone.

My membership links all show up on my Facebook page as an Icon and so that becomes the central place for me to look at my points from 6 hotel chains, 4 department stores, 4 airlines and 2 car rental companies. That gives me another reason to spend more time on Facebook. Think about it, all membership cards in this world should be digital (all you need is a number anyway) and members can be connected through a social network. Customer or member support communications should happen on Facebook too. Of course, this is just an idea and I don’t think it is happening anytime soon, but I definitely think it’s an idea worth playing with.

Another idea is about emails. When email was first invented, it was a great tool for business and personal communications. Then came web-base email, which makes it better. It makes it easier for us to share information and we are becoming more casual about it. Imagine if I have to pick up the phone or write you a fax to tell you a piece of news, I probably won’t do that unless it is important. Today, all we do is click forward and information gets circulated and God knows who. Is that good or bad? Imagine, we can track this information and analyze why and to whom they’re being shared? What new information will that give us?

These interactions reveal characteristics not only about the individual, but their social networks. Yet, this data is often obfuscated by the system, making it difficult for people to easily grasp the patterns and social interactions that they engage in daily. Imagine if a global company can track their 10,000 workers across the globe and how information is shared as well as the patterns. Imagine a system can text-mine these emails (without someone looking at them) and give a general mood of how key managers are responding to a certain idea or policy? A system that explicitly reveals the social networks patterns that emerge in email, and emphasizing the structural forms of one’s network and providing an interactive tool for people to reflect on their own habits. Imagine we allow people to manage their social network as one aspect of managing the context of their work and lives. This is another $100 million dollar idea. What do knowledge workers learn? How do they decide what to learn next? What motivates them to share ideas? These questions are central to the challenges of a knowledge-based organization.

Look under within the social fabric of any organization that connects people to people and people to content and turn content into knowledge. Relationships, trust and serendipity are key. This is the connective tissue of Enterprise 2.0.

The structure of one’s social network conveys a great deal about an individual both personal and professional lives. How often does the individual maintain distinct relationships between groups of people? Do they have a few close friends or a large collection of less regular interactions? Are clusters within one’s network separated based on roles or interest?  Is he or she a connector? Someone that has the power to shape and mobilize.

What about tools that allow us to curate our social network image? What are those tools looks like. ‘curation’ of one’s identity and self-image among different (both work and play)) social networks is a very interesting concept. Better not talk too much and save the idea for the next incubation project.

Original Post: http://mootee.typepad.com/innovation_playground/2008/05/the-coming-invasion-of-social-networks-into-our-everyday-lives.html