B2B social media much more pleasant than consumer

Nick Booth meets a b2b social media developer who is rejecting the status quo and quietly built something useful

I’m starting to hate social media. What’s so sociable about snooping on my messages, collating all my likes and dislikes for the secret services and selling all my private details to aggressive sales companies?

If that’s social I’d hate to think what counts as anti-social media. Why not go the whole hog and collect every baby’s DNA records, analyse them and predict what sort of life they are about to live? Then you could hit them with targeted adverts at every stage of their journey. Any fussy types who don’t want to be empowered with rich content information, could always be given the option to opt out. We all know how easy it is to unsubscribe.

Beware anyone who gives you something free: they’re after something. Still, we can learn something positive from the narrow-eyed, unscrupulous cunning of these cynical desperadoes.

Corporate social media, on the other hand, seems to have quietly built on the ease of use of social systems and created something useful. They’re rejecting all the awful tactics by which anti-social media was measured, like the number of logins, likes and posts.

Those things are meaningless anyway, says Tibco social-computing president Ram Menon.

Facebook taught us about activity streams and assembling complexes of information, he says, but this power must be used for good.

The other major difference is that on Facebook everybody broadcasts and nobody listens, whereas at work there is more of a hierarchy of information; 20% of the community has something worth saying, and 80% are listeners, so different rules were needed.

The Tibco tibbr enterprise social network has to be paid for, which is reassuring. It has 1.5 million paying users after two years in existence, whereas Yammer took four years to reach 800,000 paying users – and Microsoft was impressed enough by that to buy it.

According to Forrester Research, based on their value and strategic approach, tibbr, Yammer and Chatter are now the market leaders. And now tibbr has promised to rid the world of another modern menace – the ‘automated’ office meeting.

There are no official figures available, but I’m pretty sure that online conferences are the biggest cause of dental damage in the Western world. More teeth are ground to a stump during conference set-up times than any other activity. If you listen carefully during the half an hour delay before an online conference, you can hear the molar on molar damage incidents taking place as the office expert tries to get WebEx to speak to Skype to hook up with Google Hangouts.

Now Tibco has launched tibbr Meetings which, it promises, will make all these disparate technology systems talk to each other; ERP will speak unto HR, Yammer will break out with SharePoint, Salesforce will sync with SAP.

If Tibco can actually get all those systems to talk to each other and share information, that would be a work of genius. Let’s hope they use that power responsibly.

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