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New paradigm: Why the current social collaboration model is ripe for disruption!

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Current collaboration technologies largely derive from social networking technologies. Being ‘social’, these technologies carry a few hallmark characteristics:

  • They are people centric. Users follow, befriend and network with each other, and they create personally curated circles of other users around them.

  • The overt personalization they offer is social as well. Each user only sees what his/her own chosen circle posts. This is what makes each user’s experience unique. (Of course, many platforms covertly collect more data on users, and use this for personalization as well).

  • The only way to meet unknown people outside one’s own circle is via “Groups” or “Channels” - manually created theme spaces, where like-minded strangers converge. However, these spaces cannot be personalized, and often get noisy and cluttered rapidly.

This people-centric mechanism for ‘networking’ works well in personal contexts and small networks - staying in touch with friends and family, following celebrities one admires, being connected with professionals relevant for career growth. It also works for teams, in the enterprise context.

However, this paradigm suffers some critical drawbacks:

  • Being people-centric, user attention is the currency in this model. Here, for individuals and businesses alike, getting more attention is the key goal.

  • This is why users here tend to project their “best-self” fantasies in search of more “likes” and “follows” and this spawns a cascade of mental health problems for many.

  • This also allows infomediary (data broker) businesses (like social and eCommerce platforms) to monetize users and their attention, charging brands for targeted reach and visibility, but in return, choking open conversations between brands and their own communities.

While these issues do create problems for personal networks, for large communities they get amplified and become crippling show-stoppers, both for community members and for brands:

  • Large communities - of thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands - are almost entirely made of strangers. Consequently, it becomes impossible for individual community members to personally network their way meaningfully through such large numbers of strangers. Personal networks tend to become silos, limiting open community exchanges. In turn, this dissipates and critically fragments the community.

  • At the same time, lack of cohesiveness and consistent engagement in such siloed communities prevent businesses from efficiently aligning communities with brand mission and priorities. On social platforms, not being owners of their own communities, brands cannot control how to profile and personalize their communication and interactions with their own communities. This often reduces brand pages to social content broadcast platforms rather than conversation and community hubs. And social algorithms ensure that only a miniscule fraction of even such broadcast content actually reaches the community.

This is why a paradigm shift is direly needed, and imminent. A new community collaboration framework is necessary, that is designed for open interactions among large numbers of strangers, and allows brands fuller control on how they profile, personalize and manage their communities.

The key principles of the new paradigm are:

  • Focus is on communities, which are large collectives of strangers, rather than on small personal networks.

  • Collaboration should not depend on users individually making efforts to network. This only creates small personal silos. Collaboration should become effortless and automatic, so that the entire community can on-the-fly converge around need-based interactions.

  • Strangers should automatically and effortlessly be able to find, help and ideate with each other.

  • Collaboration should be intentional. Not attention driven. Users' and brands’ focus should shift from getting more attention, to expressing their intention - their questions, goals, concerns, help they seek, knowledge they want to share.

  • Personalization should move away from covert surveillance of users’ attention-seeking behavior, to overt value exchange based on explicit permission-based interactions.

foreva is at the vanguard of this paradigm shift. Realizing the above charter is its primary goal.

To this end, it is creating a new model for community collaborations based on intentional, permission-driven, topic-centric interactions, where brands can continuously profile and interact with their communities in ways that they can control and own, and which create sustained win-win outcomes for both the community and the brand.

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