Today, and for the rest of this weekend, I’m hanging out with some social media smarties on the Social Fresh Cruise. I know it sounds rough, and believe me, it is – having some fun on the ocean (and in Mexico, for a brief bit) and doing some big thinking with some of the smartest minds on the social media scene.

Seriously, though. There’s something that this event is affording me and some of my colleagues the chance to do that we don’t often: talk about what’s next. What’s real. What all of this means.

Social media is all the rage, and the hype around it can be stifling at times. Overwhelming, and all too focused on the shiny technology. But those of us in the trenches, figuring this stuff out day to day, testing and breaking and experimenting and proving and measuring… well, we see something in all of this that’s bigger than blogs or Twitter or Facebook.

We see a fundamental shift in the way businesses will operate. In the way that customers will connect not just with the companies they do business with, but perhaps more importantly, with each other. We see old ideas of community-centered business clad in fancy technology. We see relationships that used to develop on the golf course now happening across states, countries, oceans – through the power of a vastly networked web of communication and content.

So we’re going to spend a few days chewing on that, discussing it, connecting with our colleagues and figuring out where it’s taking each of us next. For me, and for Radian6, it’s the chance to kick the tires on some of our ideas about the shift in business because of the social web, and the new roles and structures it implies. To connect with folks that help drive ourbusiness as enthusiasts, experts, and contributors to this exciting, fast-paced space of ours.

If you happen to be out on the ocean this weekend, toss a wave toward the water, ’cause I’ll be on a boat. And I know l I’ll come back with lots of great new thoughts and ideas to share with you, the folks that are changing yourbusinesss with social technologies.

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