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“A World Gone Social” Helps Companies Cope

“A World Gone Social” Helps Companies Cope

A 200-plus page, hardbound book about what social media means for business appears to be an oxymoron. Why not send a tweet? Share a Facebook message? Write a series of blog posts?

What Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt have done in “A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive” proves that large and demanding topics still need to be explored at length, and conventional technologies – like books – can be just right for the job.

Lessons to learn

Chapter 2 opens with this question: “What would the world look life if customers had all the power?” Coiné and Babbitt’s respond: “The fact is, in the Social Age, they already do. And they’re coming to realize it.”

As evidence, they cite Dave Carroll’s now infamous experience with United Airlines when baggage handlers began roughly tossing passengers’ belongings and his Taylor guitar was destroyed. He wrote a song (“United Breaks Guitars”) and immortalized his negative customer-service experience in a humorous video that went viral on YouTube. It’s now been seen by 14 million viewers and stands as proof that a customer-service misstep can be very damaging to a company’s reputation in today’s world.

The authors identify social-media trendsetters, such as Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Elon Musk (Tesla) and Ariana Huffington (AOL), and they distill observations about them and others into pieces of advice that other businesses might follow.

When it comes to leading through community, for instance, they find that brands that have succeeded in the Social Age demonstrate commitment at the top. They also build on a common purpose, put the community first, make community members feel special (a “red velvet rope” mindset), and let the community self-moderate and self-protect.

A look to the future

Social media is bringing about what the authors dub “the death of large,” or a preference for small, flat organizations. And it’s forcing companies to recruit and hire in brand-new ways.

Arguably, the final chapters of the book are the most compelling as Coiné and Babbitt attempt to envision “the future of business in a world gone social.” One prediction? Open collaboration will become the norm.

And yet the authors are quick to confess: “No one knows what the future of social, or its impact on business, will really be. No one – yet – understands its full potential.” For this reason, they’re continuing the conversation on the Web (of course) at

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