One after another, the most ‘fringe’ of concepts of the Internet Era become the new way of doing business. Skeptics beware…the most unlikely of web ideas seems to eventually become the norm in business.

We’ve watched YouTube move from “a wild-wild West of content — a place where marketers shied away from uploading their commercials, let along building a branded channel,” to a basic way for companies to advertise and maybe luck out with a viral video. We’ve watched Facebook, the most social of all sites first become a place to advertise and then a way to create excitement with fans.

Social for the customer

Even as a customer, I was so inspired by a recent trek to the Himalayas that I posted a photo to the Patagonia Facebook page of my wife and I wearing their products. In my enthusiasm, Patagonia profited twice…once when I bought their product and once when I gave up my privacy and for no other reason than the desire to share my enthusiasm with like-minded people.

Social within the workplace

As the corporate social trend catches on, the latest is to have ‘internal Facebook’ in the form of Salesforce’s Chatter, Yammer and others. Done well, our coworkers ‘follow’ us, or even ‘unfollow’ when we waste their time. How, exactly, does one unfollow the boss?

In the Internet Era every one of us are a brand to be managed. We build our corporate value through networking socially at work. A career has become part productivity and part brand management. Ignore it at your own peril.

The reason that ‘fringe’ became ‘logical’ is simple…people are inspired and energized by the ability to be social connected with their coworkers and customers. There’s something embedded in our human nature that compels us to do this.

At the World’s largest Intranet Era company, ‘Googliness’ is the term used to measure someone’s ability to become part of a completely social culture. Buzz is their internal Twitter and it is buzzing with people busy creating their work persona.

Jobs are identified not by division or rank, but by the social community where you connect, such as SWE (software engineer) rather than ‘Lead Developer on the X project’. Community first, loyalty and productivity follow.