Social Networking for Business

thumb_white.gifA lot of discussion in and around our industry Is focussed on the impact of Social Networking. Is this was Collaboration 2.0 what this is all about, I think not. If we continue to use this phrase as a product classification for Collaboration 2.0 a number of things may happen

1. The outside world will perceive Collsboration 2.0 as a ‘lightweight’ and frivolous product

2. Why use vendor tools when you can use other social networking tools for ‘free’

3. The business value and role within an Enterprise of web based Collaboration 2.0 will be extemely hard to position

What else could this be called? this blog post suggests SNB (Social Networking for Business), but will could call is Collaborative Netwoking or some other handle. Suggestion welcome – I do think Social Networking by itself mis-positions what we are trying to achieve.

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It will be interesting to see if "social" eventually becomes an accepted part of the enterprise vocabulary. I am starting to hear people accept the context of a "social network" within the enterprise (that set of people you know, go to for help, and go to in order to find other people to help), but until now there doesn't seem to be an understanding that you need to do social networking in order to build a social network! This happens in the physical world all the time - a significant section of our social network is the people you chat to by the coffee machine about the football, meet in the canteen for lunch or go for a pint with after work. The fact that this is accepted in the physical world, does not mean that the need for it is accepted in the on-line world. I see internal conflicts in business about the need to build relationships in virtual organisations, to help virtual teams to bond, but a reluctance to sanction the sort of on-line activities that will enable this. LinkedIn (which is a social network site, after all) is often referred to as Business Networking, but that tends to be seen implicitly as between, not within companies. Bit it could be an option. We tend to refer to Social Software, but it still has the problem word "social". And also Social Network Analysis to explain both the physical and virtual social contacts in a business - maybe Social Network can become acceptable even if Social Networking is not. We also use the concepts of Communities a lot, although that is susceptible to the same stigma as social (and social networks are really separate concepts to communities). Of course, all of this is really collaboration - but people already have preconceptions about collaboration (still sometimes as a synonym for e-mail :-) So if I want a more "business friendly" term I have been using Collaboration 2.0 for a while. Some phrase will emerge over time to define this. What I tend to do is try to focus more in illustrating examples of how social networking can happen, what it can achieve and the business benefits that come from it - and use a descriptive name as little as possible! Stuart PS. Congratulations on the Blog - I'm looking forward to following it very much!
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Stuart, Misconceptions, misunderstanding and missed-opportunities - the story of our collaborative history!
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The word "Collaborate" is about as dumb as it gets. Why don't people "Communicate" anymore. The word(s) "Drill-Downs" used in listing terms is about as dumb as it gets. Why can't you have a "Catagory or Sub Category" anymore. The internet language is going "STUPID".
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