Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thoughts On Social Media

With the recent announcement that LinkedIn will be acquired by Microsoft, we're seeing quite a bit of chatter on the future of social media.  So I thought I'd share my thoughts on the matter.

When thinking about social media, I see two distinct categories:  public social media and media behind the enterprise firewall.  And I have distinct thoughts on both.

When I think of public social media, I think of the popular platforms out there:  LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, G+, and similar platforms (sorry, no Slack…I still haven’t figured out how to categorize Slack).  My point of view is that public social media has “jumped the shark”.  When it first came on the scene, public social media was about initiating conversations and exchanges of ideas.  Somewhere along the way, it turned into a set of platforms for people to simply shout out their messages on various subjects; the discussion aspect is shriveling on the vine.  And, again strictly from my point of view, the discussion is the big value of public social media.  Less discussion, less value.  And yes, I'm aware of the irony of using a public social media platform in sharing these thoughts...

Behind the enterprise firewall, we’ve barely scratched the service in realizing the benefits of social media.  The concept of value from the exchange of ideas also applies here.  But the big value add, from my perspective, is in mining that social media data to connect people in ways that would never occur if we simply relied on organization structures.  Who would know that Alice in Accounting had an interest and skill in color design theory if she didn’t mention it in a chat?  Or that Bob in marketing knows can read electrical schematics if we didn’t have a social network for team member hobbies?  As we break down organizational stovepipes, finding special skills within our enterprise teams and connecting those skills in new ways for important projects becomes a critical part…maybe the most critical part…of the HR mission.  And social media in the enterprise is just one way of doing that…especially when you add suppliers and customers (especially customer advocates) into the mix.

So you’re thinking “Floyd, does this mean you see a change afoot in the shape of social media?  Maybe a decline in the popularity and use of public social media at the same time  enterprise-based social media use grows and evolves?”  Answer:  yup.

Bet you have thoughts on this too.  Share them.  Take advantage of the Comments functionality on this particular public social media platform.

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