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Social Media Challenges in Business Similar to Early Internet Adoption October 30, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in communication, twitter, web 2.0.
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Here we are 40 years after the Internet was first used to send a message and business is repeating history with their adoption rates to new technologies. 

From a Robert Half Technology Survey and mentioned in Stowe Boyd’s blog post Enterprises Block Social Networks, 54% of US companies with over 100 employees have completely blocked sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.  At the same time, analysts at Gartner are telling IT managers, Loosen up on social networks, security.   These opposing views remind me of the early years of the Internet.  You could walk into a business in the early 1980’s with a dozen PCs and one of them was not connected to the network.  That lone PC was connected to the internet, but it wasn’t safe to have the entire office on-line.  The reasoning was that some hacker could break in and steal all your accounting data and the employees would spend all their time surfing the net rather than working.  

This battlecry has reared it’s head in the business world with Social Media as “someone might say something negative about us.  We don’t trust our employees to work during working hours.  Lock it down.  Turn it off!”   The control must be kept by the CIO or communications director, and our lawyer and HR department are ready to reprimand any employee that crosses the line.  Oops, only 30% of business have a social media policy.   You can get help with social media and email policy from my earlier blog post Email Records retention Can Be Tricky.

This fear of social networking will handcuff the enterprise while competitors will leapfrog ahead.  If you don’t trust your employees with some responsibility, why did you hire them?  As Paul Proctor, a VP at Gartner says, “You cannot protect yourself from everything. You must learn to balance risk and performance.”  AIIM has gathered a number of statistics from surveys and research that help to explain the current state and where we are heading.   Here’s just a snippet to share:

Over half of organizations consider Enterprise 2.0 to be “important” or “very important” to their business goals and success.  Only 25% are actually doing anything about it, but this is up from 13% in 2008.  Knowledge-sharing, collaboration and responsiveness are considered the biggest drivers.  Lack of understanding, corporate culture and cost are the biggest impediments.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of the business leader.  They hear the word social and think of twittering “I’ll meet you at the pub after work”.  The word social needs to be replaced with business  collaboration when you bring the discussion from the IT department to the Board of Directors.    The real questions that business should be focusing on are:

  • How can we harness “collaborative” networks to improve communications, knowlege sharing, marketing efforts, etc?
  • Should our deployments be internal or external? 
  • Have we developed our business strategy to include these technologies?

There are numerous business reasons to embrace Social Media including public relations, brand building, lead generation, crisis management and search engine optimization.  Now that Twitter has deals with Bing and Google, to crawl the twitterverse,  I suspect a few more firms will be appointing a “corporate twitterer”.    You want to be planning now as I read in the Social Computing Journal , Nielsen Norman Group estimates “a timeline of approximately three to five years for most organizations to successfully adopt and integrate social technologies into their intranets.”  Better shake a leg.

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Comments»

1. Bella Martha - October 31, 2009

I am very interested in the article that you write on the blog . I would come back to read your post again next time.Great job ,Thanks.
Cari Uang Di Internet

2. johnburkeaz - October 31, 2009

The advent of social media is comparable to the beginning of computer technology. Everyone is just now experimenting with ways to utilize the varied components. The timeline for implementation will condense once the “wheel” has had its corners shaved and has been reinvented. Nobody needs to understand code and program writing to be creative on a computer anymore. Right now we are all retracing the same basic steps to get on board. I think the effort is worth it, as businesses, we will be the leaders to those who follow.

3. Kerwin Kortman - November 11, 2009

Carol- Thank you for all the interesting information you and the team shared regarding social media for the construction industry. I will be following your blog and appreciate the expertise that you bring.

carolhagen - November 12, 2009

You’ll keep ahead of the curve though continuous learning and hope my blog and the links I provide will serve you well.


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