The Only Constant is Change

originally posted on Concept Hub

I assume that we have all heard the saying “the only constant is change” and perhaps most of us have said those words. I googled the origin of the saying and found that it is attributed to Heraclitus, which based on his name alone you can guess he was a Greek philosopher from a really long time ago.

A few years ago I met Timothy Moenk who introduced me to the concept of accelerated change. I would put Tim in the same category as a Greek Philosopher.

Basically he explained to me that we are all experiencing ever increasing technological change which is therefore increasing the rate of social and cultural change.

Without anyone telling you this, you have probably already noticed, huh?

It is very hard to keep up with. I have noticed that since more of my time has been allocated to client projects I am spending less time keeping up with all of the changes happening in social media. Recently I read that Bloglines, an RSS reader that I have been using for years, will close down October 1. I subscribe to over a hundred feeds on Bloglines and check it once a week. Because of this change I am going to have to spend some time setting up a new reader, probably Google Reader, which I will have to learn more about.

This is a minor disruption in my life. However, because I am constantly working with free, open source tools I have grown accustomed to such disruptions. But I do understand that such spur of the moment, disruptive changes that happen on the social web are a barrier to organizations trying to leverage such channels.

If you asked me a couple weeks ago what tool to use to prune your twitter followers I would have told you Buzzom. I had been using it for a few months and was really impressed with it. However when I logged in a couple of weeks ago I was greeted with a message that the feature I used the most was no longer available. I did a quick search and found two more tools that offered the feature that I needed.

Change is accelerating. Development cycles for new products are faster than ever, which increases the level of competition. Tools compete for users but at the same time must find ways to be sustainable and ideally profitable.  Each time a tool we use, such as Bloglines or especially Linkedin and Facebook makes a change or goes away it disrupts our life; It is a cause of frustration, but it is also a result of our demands for better tools at little or no cost.

Such changes not only impact social networking sites or monitoring tools, they will also begin to have an ever increasing impact on all other industries as well. Whether you work in retail, finance, health, entertainment, manufacturing, or the non-profit space you will find that today’s technological changes are impacting business models across the board.

Thus the challenge that faces social media tools will become the challenge for all industries. Should you disrupt the lives of your clients in order to provide them with accelerated changes that are better and more cost effective? If you choose to pace out your enhancements will you be outpaced by your competitors? If you wait for perfection before introducing your latest idea will your new idea become antiquated?

These are the questions that business leaders are now facing everyday. These changes not only impact research and development, but also how we communicate such changes to our our clients as well as continue to provide exceptional service.

Although the uncertainties of social networks can be frustrating and time consuming, this is not the time to push them aside, but more the time to observe how these companies manage the accelerated changes that are sure to happen in every other industry.