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What Social Business is Really All About

Posted by on March 21, 2011

Really, this has anything and everything to do with social business, enterprise 2.0, social media, social CRM, and every other term or category that is related.  The question that oftentimes comes up is what is all of this “social” stuff really about?  Reports are put out pretty much daily, as are new frameworks, strategies, approaches, and theories.  We cover everything from change management to adoption to culture to technology and everything in between.  While these all may be important I think everything we are seeing can really be broken down into a shift of two things: culture (or as Gil Yehuda says, “observable behaviors”) and technology.


Even over the past 5-7 years we have become much more comfortable with publicly sharing and creating information.  We are now more comfortable with living our lives in a much more public way.  Not only that but many of us are also feeling less threated with sharing information with peers and co-workers in a professional setting.  Our concerns with people, companies, and politicians are voiced publicly for the world to see as is our physical location (if you’re using one of the many geo-location tools out there).  When I speak at events I always like to joke around and tell people that I don’t really remember what it used to be like to conduct business without the web, now we are seeing an incredible shift in how business is conducted and how personal lives are led.  I tried to find some interesting stats around how our culture has changed but alas I wasn’t coming up with the information I wanted.  However, just through observation there is no denying that we have changed forever but time will tell if it’s for the better.


Where do I even begin with advances in technology, just take a look at the recent triumph of Watson (a super computer created by IBM) over 2 jeopardy world champions.  We have amazing tools that let companies and people monitor the entire web for relevant conversations. Internal platforms allow employees to find subject matter experts and information with ease (hopefully) and we have amazing tools that improve how we work and when; this is all just the tip of the iceberg (and I’m trying to stay relevant just to the collaboration side of things).  Basically, we have tools today that allow us to actually do the things that have changed and that we more comfortable with from a culture standpoint.  Of course, these tools and technologies are always changing and adapting but it’s really amazing to see what’s available today and how it is changing the way we work, communicate, and share information with each other.

I think what all of the “social” stuff is about is helping organizations solve business problems but in the context of how culture and technology has changed (and will continue to change).  The change management, adoption, and strategy issues are all arising as a direct result of shifts in technology and cuulture.

What say you?

  • Absolutely agree with you, Jacob. Regardless of the tools or platforms used at the moment, social media is not a trend or hype. Whether for public relations, marketing, customer service, citizen engagement, enterprise operational collaboration or any other functions or processes, social media is the evolution of how we leverage technology and innovation to better connect and interact. It’s only the beginning, as I highlighted earlier today:


  • […] Even over the past 5-7 years we have become much more comfortable with publicly sharing and creating information. [..]
    just can not disagree! that is completely the truth!
    need to say that it is great you’ve mentioned culture in your article. i don know why but people think about it less with each next year and that leads us to something very unpleasant! our new and moderm world is not only about computers and technology… even though you meant another culture its not a big deal after all.

  • Great article Jacob.
    I wrote a post on corporate culture and #socbiz late last year and would love your feedback.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Anonymous

    I agree this.. Whatever it is like culture or technology we have to change to them.. Thanks for this..

  • Social businesses are all about traffic, innovation, sales and improving services. Innovation because social media and other social businesses are focusing on customer experience nad customers are always into new things and innovative things. To innovate, I used advancedwebads’ unlimited banner impressions and clicks service for my marketing action plan.

  • Some businesses are hesitant to start blogs or use social media because they don’t want to give away all of their “secrets”. However, this is the wrong way to think these days. Those that aren’t willing to share and communicate will get left behind.

  • I’m glad you put culture before technology, Jacob. My sense is that many people working in this area as consultants find that the cultural change involved in companies (and government organisations and not for profits) becoming more social can be a major challenge. That’s at least in part because, while it may be true that “many of us feel less threatened…” there are and will be quite a few people, often in key positions of influence in organisations, who *do* feel threatened. That’s an even bigger challenge when they not only won’t acknowledge that they feel threatened, but don’t even recognise it themselves.I’m thinking one of the developments that the market will call for soon is for social media specialists to team up with people expert in change management, so as to be able to deliver better business outcomes, not just strategies.