It’s taken me a while to work out why social media and stuff is such a fundamental change for banking, but I finally think I've got there and it's clearer.
It started with the rise of blogging and social media such as YouTube.
I still retell the story of McKinsey’s Chief Executive who was side-blinded by the appearance of YouTube back in 2006.
The morning papers appeared on his desk with the headline: Google acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion.
He had never heard of this company and so called in his team and asked the question: “What is YouTube?”
None of them knew.
It sure was a problem.
That was six years ago.
It’s a bigger problem today.
For six years, we’ve seen Facebook become this billion user customer behemoth, along with the rise of Twitter.
For most of that time, I’ve been engaged with banks to explain to them what these websites mean, as they are firewalled out.
However, as mentioned before, these are not websites but platforms.
Think of internet platforms as Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. These are the access points to the internet. Now think of Facebook and Twitter as the access points to socialising, as that is what they have become and this is evolving all the time.
How can you educate someone who is firewalled out from this complete new universe of communication and commerce?
The critical difference between McKinsey’s realisation of being firewalled out six years ago and today, is that the world has shifted and integrated.
Like two tectonic plates colliding, the world is no longer separated between work and life, business and social, but is integrated.
The two have become one.
There is no separation between work and life.
We just live life as we work and work as we live life.
I realise this more and more as I talk about the impact of social media on banking.
Yet we still trivialise this area as being those weird social creatures connected by technology, rather than realising this is the world colliding because of technology.
Many social creatures no longer distinguish between online and offline, real-time and mytime, working and socialising … they just live with both aspects of their lives integrated.
I’ve blogged about that before too, and now it’s getting more and more interesting because we have traditionally segregated commerce from community.
This is where banks are being forced to change, as are all of us.
When Facebook started, most banks and businesses thought that people would not want to transact or be involved in commercial activity whilst they were engaged in socialising in community activities.
This assumption proves to be wrong, as Facebook becomes more and more of a commercial entity.
But it is still a social entity.
A hybrid if you like.
And that is what our world is becoming.
We can no longer segregate social activity online from commercial activity online.
This is why Amazon and Apple ask if you would like to share your purchases with your friends as you buy and download online, and is why some banks like FIDOR get the idea of this new world of hybrid banking.
It is why one person like Mohamed Bouazizi or Molly Katchpole can create an Arab Spring or an embarrassment for Bank of America, and why the hacktivist movement #Occupy can move from being off-the-radar to being considered ‘entirely constructive’ by the bank regulators.
The criticality of this message is that if we continue to treat the socialising nature of today’s technology as trivial, which most appear to, then we will fundamentally miss this shift of the axis of the move from a segregated work-life to an integrated work-life.
If you don’t believe you have an integrated work-life, how many of you sleep with your smartphone and check your emails, status updates or tweets before you go to bed?
Banks must play a critical role in integrating work-life and becoming hybrid commercial-community managers of value.
I know I keep banging on about it, but the more I talk about it, the more I fundamentally believe we are missing a trick.
Time to get those community currencies to be stored in your account; time to offer an exchange between Bitcoins and Diablo gold via your deposit account; time to create e-identities so that I sign on with my bank’s details rather than Facebook’s; time to enable my storage of my most critical media in the bank vaults rather than the social vaults; time to enable communities to transact commerce as part of being social, rather than just where we do business; time to facilitate P2P everything (loans, savings, payments and more) rather than leaving it to the disruptors …
… OMG, I could go on for another few hundred blog entries.
OMG, I already have (many times) .