Connecting vs Reaching
This snippet by way of Stowe Boyd really struck a chord with me with respect to the difference between social networks and enterprise social networks. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook got called out by Maureen Dowd in this New York TImes article:
“Sandberg may mean well, and she may be setting up a run for national office. But she doesn’t understand the difference between a social movement and a social network marketing campaign. Just because digital technology makes connecting possible doesn’t mean you’re actually reaching people”
I’m not going to debate Sandbergs motives in the context of Maureen’s article – not my bag. But as I spend my time thinking about product vs real established customer needs at work, this last statement about connecting vs reaching exposes the stark difference between consumer social networking and what happens in the world of work.
Enterprise social networking as we’ve known it thus far has had the exact opposite problem: Just because digital technology makes reaching possible doesn’t mean you’re actually connecting.
Reaching people is accounted for. It’s called Email. In the world of work, connecting doesn’t come from just bringing people together. Really really connecting to impact performance and execution comes from surrounding real purpose and context such as a sales forecast data point, a problematic travel expense statement, a curve ball customer request, a need for supplier arbitration, with your network of people. You can reach people all day long but to get the network to truly galvanize around a problem, you need to infuse smart expertise identification and social or collaboration at the point where problems and opportunities emerge.
This is the expectation of “social”, in the enterprise.
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SVP, Enterprise Social and Collaborative Software, SAP