"This Isn't Social. This is Only Business"

Posted on March 21, 2009 by Tony Uphoff

Have always found it fascinating when people use the expression, " This isn't personal. This is only business". Business is highly personal. It is a means of self expression and self discovery. This isn't to say that you don't have to balance the needs of "the business" with the needs of "the individual" and as a result make difficult decisions that affect people. To suggest however that business doesn't have a personal foundation is simply untrue. This is why the rapidly evolving nature of social software platforms and applications in business is so fascinating. Like the famous line about business not being personal, we are still struggling to define what we mean by "social" when we describe the use of these new platforms, applications and services in business. Is it the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social graph/micro messaging platforms applied to a business? Is it the private use of powerful wiki based platforms that can fuel increased communication and engagement amongst groups inside your company or organization?

We think that it's a combination of all the above. A "Mash Up" if you will of Web 2.0 applications applied to business that allows for increased levels of collaboration. These tools are starting to create entirely new levels of interaction inside organizations. We're starting to see internal "Crowdsourcing" as companies leverage these new tools to drive communication and information sharing. If we use the common term of "Enterprise" to define business, then the use of next generation web based platforms and applications to drive collaboration and crowdsourcing could be best described as Enterprise 2.0.

For those that are actively engaged in this fast growing part of the technology market you know that there is an active and open debate about terminology and market definition as the impact of these technologies applied to business plays out. So what's the big deal? Who cares other than a bunch of folks directly involved? Why are definitions important? Simply put common definitions and understanding scales markets. Every market transition is led by the introduction or emergence of a common definition that serves as a platform. These platforms provide a foundation, system and organizational structure to allow new technologies and businesses to scale. Think of these as languages or currencies. Historically when a new language or currency emerged as a platform, cultures and societies expanded.

Our sense is that while various applications naturally fit into subsets of this new market; be they "social business software" or other application based segments, the umbrella term of Enterprise 2.0 is the market definition that best enables everyone in the ecosystem to understand this market in context. Full transparency here. Our Enterprise 2.0 Conference and Exhibition is the leading event for the discussion, demonstration and evaluation of social software, wiki, and other web 2.0 platforms, tools and applications for business use. As our co-ownership of the brand Web 2.0 Conference and Exhibition would indicate however we are well versed in helping to develop common definitions that scale markets and in providing the environments for the ecosystem to meet, learn, discuss, engage and conduct business.

So how about it? Is this social or is this only business? How do you define the use of social software, platforms and applications in business?,

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