Nielson Online have just released stats that show the reach of social networking is now greater than that of email! Extraordinary indeed, but what is slightly confused is that the metric doesn’t actually suggest that social media has overtaken email as a form of communication. (Report embedded over here at Mashable – http://mashable.com/2009/03/09/social-networking-more-popular-than-email/).
I’m a big believer in any form of communication other than email – inevitably nothing will ever beat face to face communication for productivity – but I am also a great believer in social media as the most constructive and emotive form of collaboration. I also believe that businesses have an awfully long way to go to embrace social media behind the firewall.
At iCrossing we are shortly to complete a trial install of one of the seemingly many products out in the marketplace, to help bring social media behind the firewall, with the ultimate goal (from my point of view) to improve knowledge management …There’s that rather confusing term knowledge management again! In this instance I guess what I mean is collaboration, and the assistance of ideas generation through automation.
The product that we are trialling is called Knowledge Plaza (http://www.knowledgeplaza.be). The same team are behind the launch of one of the many recent Twitter applications – Microplaza (http://www.microplaza.com). Both tools are aimed at business use – enterprise social tools as they are known – the former being a comprehensive tool that ties in all other existing enterprise platforms like Sharepoint and email as examples.
I believe that this is the last undiscovered frontier (for the time being). Once we have enabled the most basic of human desires – interaction – effectively in the work place by the implementation of the most useful, adaptable technology, we will truly be able to put the age of email behind us. Joy!