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Welcome to the Social Age

by | Jan 19, 2017

[This guest post was authored by Julian Stodd, Founder – Sea Salt Learning.]


Welcome to the Social Age, the new ecosystem that we inhabit. Much has changed: in the old world we have the formal space of work, and a social life that surrounded it. Today those two have merged and we often exist in a grey space where formal and social collide.

The Ecosystem of the Social Age, by Julian Stodd

The formal space is represented by hierarchies of power, formal organisations, rules, and systems. The social space is about communities, reputation-based authority, sense-making capability.

If we can understand how both of these work, if we can navigate the dynamic tension between the two, we can build the Socially Dynamic Organisation, an organisation that thrives in times of constant change.

Dynamic Tension

Much has changed in this new ecosystem: the nature of work itself has evolved, away from one career towards a series of jobs, some within large organisations, some simply engaged in global communities, all stitched together within one lifetime. The only constant will be the reputation that we bring, and the community that surrounds us.

The Dynamic Tension, by Julian Stodd

We have seen the democratisation of technology, communication, and creativity itself. Things that used to be the preserve of global organisations who could shout loudly, and who had the infrastructure and assets to do these things, now within reach of anybody, as every device that we use to consume content becomes one that we can use to create it.

We have seen the rise of social authority, and with it the need for Social Leadership: reputation-based authority that is based upon fairness, humility, and an ability to help others to succeed.

As communities have been enabled by technology, become synchronously connected in many spaces, they are able to overtake organisations in terms of sense making capability and breadth of skills.

The Socially Dynamic Organisation

The Socially Dynamic Organisation will find a way to bridge this gap: to continue to do the best of what it does now, and to learn how to operate successfully in this new space. It will build a diversified strength.

The Socially Dynamic Org, by Julian Stodd

The ecosystem of the Social Age is radically different from that which came before, and the pace of change is only set to continue and speed up. To survive, and thrive, we need not simply to adapt part of what we do, we need to adapt the fundamental nature of the organisation itself, and to do that, we must understand the realities of the Social Age.

Learning in the Social Age

For that reason, I am running a MOOC called Foundations of the Social Age. Starting at the end of February, this 6-week course will explore 12 aspects of the Social Age in some detail and give you the opportunity to think about and plan for what you can do about it within your own organisation.

New to MOOCs and social learning platforms? Find out more about Curatr – the social learning platform on which I’m delivering the Social Age course.

About the Author

Julian Stodd

Julian Stodd

Founder, Sea Salt Learning

Julian is a writer and consultant on the Social Age, and specialises in exploring learning design, the role of communities, social collaborative technology and social leadership.

Founder of Sea Salt Learning (whose clients include financial services, military, manufacturing and petrochemical, as well as healthcare and charity), Julian splits his time between writing and working around the world, exploring the strategy and implementation of learning, leadership and cultural change.

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