Last year, journalist and author Jeff Jarvis published his second book, entitled Public Parts. The book details Jarvis’s support of Internet openness and discusses the ways in which new technologies make modern life inherently public. Though Jarvis makes many thought-provoking arguments throughout the course of the book, those that stood out to me were those that spoke to the ways in which the openness in the digital age has changed business and how we interact as consumers.
Throughout Public Parts, Jarvis argues that today’s age of openness will help business to find new opportunities while better interacting with customers. This heighted level of engagement is made possible by new modes of communication that couldn’t exist without technology and individual openness: “The truly public company will operate in the open because publicness affords businesses a new way to work, to collaborate with customers, to reset relationships, to build trust, and to find new efficiencies—producing better products, making fewer mistakes, spending less on marketing, building better brands together.” These are themes we have highlighted before when discussing the social enterprise and how developments in social media is impacting business. I undoubtedly agree with Jarvis that openness presents incredible opportunities for businesses that leverage social networks for better customer service and to maintain professional relationships. So long as companies maintain professionalism and respect their clients’ privacy on these channels, there is a wealth of opportunity in utilizing them.