I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about digital literacy as it pertains to organisations. Howard Rheingold talks about five literacies – attention, collaboration, participation, network savvy, critical consumption.

I’ve written a number of posts asking the question whether organisations understand these emerging literacies or if they simply assume them. To this end, organisational readiness is becoming increasingly important.

But I began to wonder over the weekend whether customers know what they’re doing when it comes to social? And following on from this, do customers even need to know what they’re doing?  Or is the equivalent ‘customer literacy’ simply one of experimentation?

Customers do what they do when they want to do it: experiment, channel-hop, change their minds – these are part of their lexicon. But organisations, for the most part, are not built with this in mind. Organisations are built on averages, constancy, likelihoods… I am reminded of Ozymandias.

In order to talk to each other, who will give in first? Who will compromise, who will cede their position? And at what cost?

But does this have to be an uneasy encounter where protagonist and antagonist clash? Or can we learn the role of the synagonist or do we need to create a hybrid role? And if so, what is the literacy of this newly emerging role? Who do we learn from? Each other…perhaps?

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