Read an Excerpt
A Briefcase Book
Manager's Guide to Social Media
By Scott Klososky
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2011The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Social Technologies: An Introduction
Kim runs a marketing office with six direct reports. Four of her people are under 32 years old and have been with the company for less than two years. More and more, she observes them spending time on their computers using Facebook, Twitter, and watching YouTube videos. She can't help noticing that they send links to each other and share interesting articles and videos. At times she's sure they're helping to expose each other to new ideas and information, yet she also suspects they use company time to communicate with friends. Increasingly, her four young direct reports spend time on their mobile devices during meetings, either texting, checking social sites, or taking notes; it's hard to say.
Their performance still seems to be up to par, but Kim wonders if they could do a better job if all these online tools, to which they seem to be addicted, didn't distract them. In the last six months she's noticed that they're putting in less hours at the office, yet they also seem to be working after hours and sometimes on weekends. Worst of all, they seem to have command of new tools that are regular parts of their day, and Kim has never heard of most of them. Part of her wants to encourage them to quit spending so much time online, and the other part senses this is a new way of working that can be effective. What should she do next?
Managing people is always a challenging task. Human beings can be unpredictable, emotional, and hard to organize into a frictionless team, even for the best leader. Add to this mixture sophisticated technology tools that enable them to communicate for free with millions of people instantly, anywhere in the world, and you have the recipe for disaster—or stunningly good results. Today's organizations have never had four generations that are more different in how they view the world and have never seen a fire hose full of free tools coming at them like we see from the Web today.
These dynamics offer managers a wonderful opportunity to impact the way social technologies get integrated into the organization's daily activities. On the other side of this wonderful opportunity is the possibility of a tremendous mess if managers are uneducated about or don't understand these technologies.
If managers fail to provide a good example by using these tools personally, they won't only be failing as leaders, they'll also create a chasm between themselves and those they lead. It's now clear that social technologies aren't a fad, and they're here to stay. This demands that managers become knowledgeable about the field.
A Bit of History
Without huge fanfare, the term Web 2.0 made its debut shortly after the dotcom crash of 2001. People were searching for an answer to the question of where the Web would go after its overheated rise in the late '90s, and subsequent return to earth. While some people wrote off the Internet as having much less impact than was predicted, the first signs of a new era were appearing. Instead of people just connecting with companies offering products, they began to connect with each other.
Communities of interest began to form where people from around the world with specific areas of commonality could find each other and share information, ideas, opinions, and files. Then savvy, young entrepreneurs began to build tools that let us share content and opinions in various formats—for free. Whereas Web 1.0 is all about e-commerce, Web 2.0 is about connection. So much so, that the term Web 2.0 gave way to a more specific moniker: social technologies.
There seems to be confusion around the vocabulary of social relevancy, social media, social networking, and social technologies, so let's clear that up first. Social technologies is the umbrella term that encompasses three discreet areas of the Web 2.0 era. There is actually a fourth catchall category that I will just say encompasses all of the discreet tasks that people are putting the word "social" in front of, for example, social CRM and social recruiting. For our purposes, it's important that you understand the three major categories so you can invest resources into being productive with all of them.
The first is social relevancy. This describes the concept of an online reputation or credentials, and all the tools available in this area. These include the online reputations of an organization and an individual. Both have a level of social relevancy online today—whether they choose to influence it or not. Think of social relevancy as your online credentials. When a potential customer, partner, vendor, or investor looks online to learn about your organization, the collection of links, user opinions, and content they can access adds up to your online relevancy. At an individual level, when HR departments, buyers, partners, or potential girlfriends or boyfriends search for you online, they'll also find content, opinions, and links that will comprise your online credentials.
The second is social media. This describes any Web site or service that facilitates using a piece of media to share an idea, advertise, promote, or deliver content. Media in this sense could be documents (scribd.com), presentations (slideshare.com), photos (flickr.com), or videos (youtube.com.) For some reason, the media (newpapers, TV, radio) seem to use this term often as the umbrella term, and that just confuses the matter. Social media is already a powerful source of information transmission on a worldwide scale. People with an expertise in a discreet area or with something important to get across are leveraging social media sites to "talk to" 1.8 billion other people—for free.
The third part of social technologies is social networking. This describes any Web site or service that facilitates people communicating one-to-one, or one-to-many, in a conversation. This includes MySpace, Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, Foursquare, blogging, etc. Social networking includes everything from eCommunities to broadcasting communications through text, audio, or video in a live format. Social networking is about connection through conversation among people independently or through organizations speaking with an organizational voice.
There is actually a catchall category that should be mentioned, and that is all the "socially augmented" services that are now being identified by putting the word "social" in front of the activity. For example, social CRM (customer relationship management) and social recruiting, just to name a couple. It's likely that for the next decade we will attach the "social" moniker to many tasks and will eventually just drop the need to specify that people are using social tools to augment the task.
Describing What Social Tech Really Is ...
There seem to be many people—especially in the older generations—who struggle to understand the whole phenomenon of social tech. It can seem like a dangerous place where privacy is thrown out the window and security does not exist. They cringe when they see a teenager texting at the dinner table. They have little idea why someone would watch YouTube as if it were a TV channel, and they clearly are confused by the concept of Twitter and why people would share their thoughts and activities with the world five times a day. Social tech feels like an amorphous trend that is growing quickly, in lots of directions, with no instruction manuals.
We can define this pretty easily if you think of social technologies as a &
Excerpted from A Briefcase Book by Scott Klososky. Copyright © 2011 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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