Speaking at a conference for members of Frost & Sullivan’s Global community of Growth, Innovation and Leadership (GIL), held at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Andrew Lamb, a Director of Appropedia (a wiki which focuses on sustainability issues – see: http://www.appropedia.org/Welcome_to_Appropedia), argued that ‘web 2.0’ has encouraged new forms of social interaction and collaboration. He added that firms have learned to exploit social media by using fun or viral notions to take advantage of people’s innate desire to gather and interact with each other and pass along interesting bits of information.


He said that it’s like harnessing ‘mostly benevolent’ gossip. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, he claimed that social media resonates with levels three (friendship) and four (respect from, and for, others).


Collaboration is, by contrast, about work, he said. It’s about content and details – and making a difference.  It resonates with Maslow’s fourth (achievement) and fifth (problem solving) levels. In addition, it can also be exploited by harnessing another innate desire: the desire to help others. Lamb’s key points were:

  • Knowledge sharing can support both economic development and your brand, which is good for business.
  • Open licensing of content can help you do well.
  • Content shared openly on a community site is perceived differently than it is if it appears on your corporate site.

Just in case you’re wondering, GIL is focused on engaging, sharing and inspiring a continuous flow of new ideas and fresh perspectives which use innovation as a resource to help shape a better future for the growth of our companies and our careers.

Comment: Lamb’s is an interesting perspective on the continuing rise of the social media phenomenon. And, since he can attribute the appeal of social media’s characteristics not just to the human psyche but also to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it must be true.

So now we all know not only that social media works but we also know why it works. I, for one, can now sleep soundly.