In a February 22nd article on BusinessInsider.com, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst described Enterprise Social Networking tools as “garbage”. With all due respect, I completely disagree with this statement, and his reasons for calling it such. These are, of course, my opinions, but they come from someone who is not only active in the Social Media aspect of my company, but who has also seen Social Media take off inside of the company.Let’s first agree that Instant Messaging is not Social Media. I think most of us know that, but rather than just assume something, I thought I should mention it specifically because we all know what happens when you assume…it makes an, well…you get the idea. While most, if not all companies use some sort of IM as email can take a while. However, it is limited in the impact that it can have on an organization. Instant Messaging did though, when it first came along, revolutionize the way we communicated in both the corporate and personal world. With what Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, MySpace, Friendster, MyYearbook and others have done for society as a whole in making a big world small, tools such as Chatter from Salesforce.com have done the same thing for the corporate world. They have made large companies smaller, and more connected.
At Dell, we have been using Chatter for some time, and it has made our large company smaller, and more agile. It allows us to share articles and websites with those that are interested in the content. It allows us to share in big wins, exchange ideas and in short, share with those who are following us, much like those who follow you on Facebook. There is one advantage though that I believe makes Social Media in a company a MUST, and that is that the Executives are also on Chatter, and they are able to take full advantage of what it allows. While an executive at Dell might not be my Facebook friend, they can follow me on Chatter, and when we have a win, they are made aware of it, and when there is a problem, unique situation or a big win…they are aware of it, and people can “Like” a posting without having to actually respond.
Social Networking has changed the world…there is simply no denying that. The same thing is true in the corporate world. Social Networking is changing the way we do business, and the way we communicate and interact at all levels of an organization. If your company is not yet using Social Networking, get ready…as the sign above says, “Change Ahead”.