The other day I was having an informal conversation with some colleagues around the topic of Web 2.0 tools inside an organization. The main question was “what can these new technologies do for businesses? What are companies using it for?”. The interest arose from their personal awareness/curiosity on the topic and they approached me because I had written (and apparently they had read, which is always a good thing) a couple of brief articles on Enterprise 2.0 and social networks at the enterprise on an internal newsletter.
Almost at the end of the conversation one of my colleagues paused and said “I can see what you mean but I’m having a difficult time understanding specifically what a social network technology can do for a company. I mean, when I think of Facebook or hi5…”. He didn’t finish the sentence but I knew that in his mind he was imagining the kind of usage of social networking platforms that he sees in is personal life and having a pretty difficult time translating that into a work environment.
I explained, as best as I could, what those platforms could do in terms of allowing the discovery of internal expertise, building internal communities around shared interests, helping to build a networked organization and showing a bit more of background about our colleagues (the “putting a face into a name” sort of effect), capitalizing on the notion of social.
Later that day I attended a webinar organized by the Enterprise 2.0 Conference on “Making the leap from Social to Enterprise Business Networking” and one of the sponsors of the webinar showed the following video to explain how social networking can work inside an organization (there are no coincidences, right?). I leave you with the video because I think it captures well the essence of enterprise social networking.
Please note the recurrent shift between online and offline interaction in the video. Technology is here to enable offline connections that can stimulate real world contacts, not to substitute them. But I’ll leave that to another post…
Disclosure: I have no connection with Saba Software.