Is there a value in social networking in a corporate space?

The items in italics which follow were a corporate questionnaire. It was fun to answer. Let me know what you think of my answers.

Do you tweet?

Yes. I use TwitterBerry on my personal BlackBerry. For the uninitiated, Sametime broadcasts are similar to tweets. Both can be overused and annoying.

I also utilize online forums and social networking sites for access to professional contacts, issue resolutions, volunteer resources, education and personal communications. I participated in a “very large” online course: CCK08 Connectivism and Connective Knowledge

Behind all the hype, where’s the value?

You are likely to see value if you are in agreement with the theory and value of  social capital.

By utilizing these networking tools appropriately, one’s value is extended exponentially by the quality and scope of one’s network. Why? It provides quick access to distributed knowledge sources/nodes who you trust.

By contributing positively within the network, you build up your perceived value within the network which can in turn reduce the links required to get to skilled resources.

Is it purely social or personal, or is there business value?

There is value to the individual, to society and to business. 

We, as human creatures have various motivators for assisting individuals in our domains of work and play. .Sometimes those edges are blurred, where we assist a corporate friend on a personal item, or a personal friend on a corporate level.

In 1920’s, people generally reached out to those who were within arms reach.  “I scratch your back. You scratch mine” The phone expanded the reach, and then email expanded it further. Social networking tools have continued to expand our reach.  Due to the size of the network generated, they have begun to tune themselves, providing more efficient access to those who are virtually connected.

Do you have success stories?

Absolutely.  How many do you need?  Forums have provided solutions for application issues or directed us to a new possibility.  They have given quick access to setup guidelines, and provided resources previously unavailable.

Or do you think it is purely a waste of time and resources to communicate with these tools?

It takes time to learn them. It takes time to groom one’s network.  Like any skill, some will be gifted at it, and others will struggle. Only the individual and the organization can decide if the investment has merit, just as they would any other skill.

Which tools have business merit?

A twitter function within an application function, absolutely.  Picture an app that could send tweet to all individuals with specific role in an app“Shop floor  printing is down #printShop.  Backlog expected to clear at 11:15am. Workaround available via helpdesk.”.


A facebook concept, where you could see who was working on what, and their photos.  A tree of relationships within the organizational structure.  Corporate website “facebook fan” updates based on groups one belongs to: business unit, role, location..

Which tools are doomed to fail?

If you utilize  a networking tool, and then, a better tool comes along, where is the failure?  Surely the original tool may have failed from their own business plan, yet in a rapidly developing arena, that may have been their application life expectancy?

In the process, you have likely built relationships, discovered information and enhanced your communication skills.  All of these will ease your transition to the newest toolset.

What should be included in the “rules” – if anything – for accessing these tools from the workplace?

They are the same rules as one would use for any item, such as phones or corporate training guides.  Common sense usage and limitation based on organizational need.

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1 Response to Is there a value in social networking in a corporate space?

  1. Joanne says:

    regarding the question: Is it purely social or personal, or is there business value?. . .

    it seems to me that as soon as your business experience includes 2+ people, it has a social aspect, so the question misses the point that all business contexts have social elements.

    That being the case, it should be quite clear to mgmt. that social networking (Twitter, LinkedIn, standing around the water cooler, or whatever) is a critical part of how business gets accomplished. After all, how many deals are started at the urinals and sealed in the cigar lounge?

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