Enterprise Communications

Can Social Media Spread Virally in the Enterprise?

by Melanie Turek 19 Jan 2010
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Here at Lotusphere, there's been a lot of talk about social media, and the consensus from customers and IBM alike seems to be that the best way to get people to use the technology for business it to sit back and let it spread virally. It think a lot of that comes from the consumer experience, where that is exactly how services like Facebook and Twitter have gone from 0 to 60 in a matter of months or a few short years.

But for most non-technical users, there's a real difference between what they do in their personal lives, and what they do on the job. At home, on my own time, I might not mind playing around in cyberspace, making connections (or not) and seeing what works and what doesn't. But at work, I don't want to waste my time on products that don't work; I literally can't afford to. And further, if the technology doesn't help me do my job better--and, perhaps more importantly, if it doesn't help me get points with my boss, for a better performance review down the road--well... why would I use it?

Viral use doesn't work in this model. It's too slow, and it doesn't help me get my job done according to the traditional metrics in place (and, ultimately, make more money for the company, and for me). That's why management needs to change as soon as--maybe even before--they deploy social media in the enterprise.

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