Social Media Enlightenment

This morning I came across a great post on Forbes about the looming social business revolution – it hits the nail on what social media really means for companies – do have a read. Author Joel York explains the thinking behind social media so very succinctly.

The main takeaway is that it’s not about the tools but what the tools can ENABLE for businesses through the power of genuine connections.


“Everyone from McKinsey & Co to IBM is hailing the coming social business revolution. The social networking technologies that have helped us connect more efficiently in our personal lives offer equal opportunity to connect in our business and consumer lives.”

“Social business offers innovative new approaches to enterprise collaboration. More importantly, social business creates new ways to build relationships outside the enterprise with customers, vendors, investors and all the stakeholders of a company’s social business network.”

Social business is about people, not technology

“Information technology is a great enabler, but it is always only that, an enabler. It automates and accelerates actions that require information, but it can never eliminate the inherently human elements of those actions. For example, a customer relationship management system might make your sales team more efficient, but it can’t eliminate the salesperson’s role in managing personal relationships with your customers.”

“Be it profit, professional, or personal, there is always a very human purpose that drives our actions. Automation can only facilitate its fulfillment. Social business is first and foremost about people, socializing business people, not social media technology. Technology is a tool, a tool that we can choose to use wisely or poorly. So when you are laying out your social business plan, focus on the purpose of the people first and the technology last.”

When we put too much emphasis on social media, social business stops being social

Many professionals in the social media and social business industry feel that the term ‘social media’ has completely clouded our thinking about social networking  with advertising concepts.

“Media as a word means a channel for communication, a way to shuffle around information. However, we don’t really think of our phones, email, or the air that carries our voices as media. They are media, but we don’t generally think of them as media. Our common use of the term media is not just for any kind of communication channels, it is for broadcast communication channels.”

Social business networks are not broadcast communication channels. They are sharing communication channels. When we put too much emphasis on social media, social business stops being social. Sharing useful information is overridden by communicating selfish messages. The chain of reciprocity breaks. If you treat social media as a broadcast channel, you will waste your real-world capital, because it won’t translate into social business capital through the currency of reciprocity.”


Take a step back and take a hard look at your brand’s social media activities – are they broadcast communication activities, or are they business enablers?


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