How to Get the Most Value from Social Computing


Alina Fu has just released a white paper on “How to get the Most Value from Social Computing for Business with Microsoft”. It is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=C5844123-7F31-49D4-811C-7B90E6217B1D&displaylang=en

The white paper is full of stories from customers (in their own words) about business challanges, and successes from their social computing applications.

Some of the questions it tries to answer are:

  • Is “social computing” and “social networking” interchangeable?
  • How do “wikis”, “blogs” and “discussion forums” differ in terms of usage scenarios?
  • What is the difference between “personal sites” and “people profiles”?

Let me preface this with the fact that I do believe that social networking is a terrific service and since people are typically the most powerful resource in any organization any tools or services that enable people to do more, collaborate more, and communicate more is awesome in my books.

However I do believe that work and home life should be separate. You can’t have home issues and problems interfering with work life, and you don’t want to have work issues and problems interfering with home life.

Sites like facebook, blogs and LinkedIn are wonderful tools to build your personal growth and have the potential to act as excellent spring boards for certain aspects of a corporate entity such as advertising, promotion, job requisition processes and loads of other things. No business (that I know of) really has any issues with you personally promoting them (thats why business cards were made) and they certainly don’t want to control your personal life, but when you are at work and using a social networking platform the expectation is that you are using it for work related items, and not personal use.

So what is the big issue most companies have with implementing corporate social networking solutions? There is no way to control and govern social network use so that it is only used for work related tasks and not personal use.

What is silly about this is the fact that there has never ever BEEN a way to govern this (aside from good management). People can talk to each other verbally about non work related things anytime they want, they can use email for the same thing, or phones. The truth is no matter what it’s not governance in these situations that is important its moderation, morale and good management.

So in a nutshell I support the use of Social Networking solutions in business because all it does is provides more benefits from a business perspective to support social interaction that builds the business.

If you are looking for more information on social networking or social computing and SharePoint a ways back Eric Charran, Dino Dato-on, and Greg Lang wrote a lovely white paper on Social Networking with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. You can read it here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262436.aspx

Hope this helps people understand Social Computing and Social Networking with SharePoint a bit more,
Richard Harbridge

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