Pundits have said that consumers are leading the social media charge, leaving stodgy business in the dust but Ann All argues that it is really the other way around and one argument she presents makes a bit of sense to me, especially in light of my occasional rant about local social media businesses copying each other or their international equivalents:
As ZDNet blogger Larry Dignan notes, the plug-and-play nature of Web 2.0 tools like mashups and wikis have spawned plenty of copycats — the “next Wikipedia” or the “next Digg” — but very few true innovations.
Folks like Salesforce.com, who are leveraging the Web to make jobs easier and businesses more profitable, are the real innovators.
There is also a notion that business users are more inclined to make a concerted effort to use whatever new media elements they have available, more effectively because their livelihoods may depend on the proper implementation of those technologies. I think the challenge here is user adoption in the enterprise. Users may well become fanatical about proper implementation but you have to get there first and there could just as easily be crippling fears about adopting new media elements in the business environment. People who thrive on being regarded as invaluable knowledge repositories could be threatened by a new culture of free flows of knowledge, for example.
Perhaps consumers are more inclined to adopt new technologies because they don’t have the restrictions within businesses when it comes to simply adopting new things and yet may be less committed to persisting with those technologies once new ones arrive on the scene. Either way, consumers and business do feed off each other for ideas and this dynamic is a powerful force for change.