Social media is making it easier than ever to find a mentor and learn, to network with other people and organizations, or to take ownership of whatever interests us. Individuals and corporations are coming to prominence and losing everything–virtually overnight.

This is a brand new world; but it also reflects Americans’ centuries-old need to become authentically engaged with one another in associations.

In 1835 the French traveler and writer Alexis de Tocqueville published a book about his travels around the new nation in his epochal book Democracy in America. He opened Chapter V with this observation:

“Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society. Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association.”

Sounds something like social media, doesn’t it?

In one sense American history has always been driven by associations–BPOEs, Rotary, KKK, AAA, countless national non-profits, etc. From this perspective, social media might be merely the newest manifestation of our passion for associations; the harbinger of a real paradigm shift fueled by that passion.

Are Americans really hardwired to associate? If so, using social media principles and culture in the workplace might not be much of a stretch.

The internet and social media are already changing the business landscape. And we’re just getting started. Businesses will have to adjust to accommodate self-educating employees and their new expectations of greater professional engagement and room for new causes. More employee input will change the way work gets done, and businesses grow.

So a new human-scale tool is called for, one that can foster stakeholders’ active involvement even in traditionally lackluster corporate programs like Quality, Safety etc.

Over the last few months I’ve seen this kind of tool help a company identify a strong, inclusive and unique new core message. Any progressive CEO can use it to nurture a homegrown culture in his or her company that enriches even the most unstable business environment, by presenting change as a cause worth supporting.

Every day the brick-and-mortar business model loses credibility or relevance; even CEOs now come and go like temps, and public distaste for secretive shenanigans keeps growing.

In the future, corporate cultures once established by corporate leaders like GE’s Jack Welch or Delta Airlines’ Tom Beebe–visionaries who persuaded their stakeholders to accept powerful new brands–will be crafted by startling combinations of employees, managers, executives and even customers.

Here’s a prediction for the next decade: the social media phenomenon will outgrow its digital playpen, fostering a renaissance of associations and business innovation that Alexis de Tocqueville would really appreciate.

Author's Bio: 

Carey has a unique, high-energy approach to help small business owners, entrepreneurs and in-transition professionals make their Brand and content achieve superior results in the social media. He calls it "Ka-Ching Coaching" because the bottom line is always . . . your bottom line.

An award winning journalist and poet, successful marketer and editor, he's also an experienced business trainer and ghostwriter (for some recent online articles, please visit his bio page).
He is also listed in www.selfgrowth.com, the Online Self-Improvement Encyclopedia.
For descriptions of some recent success stories, please see this site's Article, "Testimonials."
He has developed marketing and training material for a Fortune 50 international corporation, a large public utility, the Embassy of Japan, the University of Washington, and many small businesses and entrepreneurs.

* As Marketing Director for several small businesses, developed innovative marketing campaigns and materials to address the unique marketing needs of small businesses and professional speakers.

* An experienced writer of Corporate Marketing materials, Business to Business copy, Technical Documentation, news articles, and Financial Reports. Experienced and marketing-driven copywriter, ghostwriter, editor and proofreader.
* Received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a major magazine article; also edited, and was ghostwriter for portions of, a number of books of fiction.
* Developed strategic communications for an International Fortune 50 Corporation and the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C. , as well as other firms and organizations.

* Wrote best-in-class news-based, procedural or marketing materials for businesses, newspapers, a magazine, a major public utility, the US Navy, and several community non-profit organizations.
* Developed and implemented innovative training programs for Yomiuri Television, the state of Oregon, Itogumi Construction Co., Vietnamese boat people, the Boys & Girls Club and an orphanage in rural Japan. Also appeared regularly on national Japanese TV with one of that country’s most popular comedians.
* Active member of the Asian Chamber of Commerce-Houston and the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston. Served on the Boards of a local Chamber, a renowned youth organization, and a Jobs Ministry.
* Fluent in spoken and written Japanese, conversational in Spanish. Familiar with various Macintosh and Windows applications.
* In addition to major presentations in various formats and executive speeches (one presented at the U.S. House of Representatives), wrote white papers, technical and business articles, and proposals.
* Has made presentations on the Marketing Mantra to the International Association of Business Communicators, the American Sociaety for Quality, and many local organizations.