Monday, June 16, 2008

Social Networks - How incredible work gets done.

If you scratch the surface of any business, you'll find two very different organizations,the formal organization - the one that can be represented by the boxes of an org chart,the informal organization - the one shaped by the day-to-day interactions of employees - conversations in hallways or in airport lounges, exchanges of messages through email and voicemail, glances and whispers in meetings. Social networks have become a hot discussion topic of late.

What makes the notion of Social Networking so special? There’s nothing new about them. They’ve existed since our cave dwelling days. It’s the “online” part that is creating the buzz. Social Networks like WOW, Second Life, Facebook, MySpace, Tube, TED, FORA.TV etc are changing the way we view social organizations that primarily exist in cyberspace.

A social network is a social structure made up of nodes that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency. Social networks are essentially about who knows who, and who knows what, as well as how quickly and well they can be assembled.

Our ability to adapt or co-evolve that determines our relevance and utility. As the environment becomes prone to continuous change (chaos), about ability to organize, disorganize and reorganize ourselves becomes a defining skill and being able to assemble meaningful social networks and have these network operate in a purely virtual/online fashion is considered a bit of a holy grail. Organizations that can increase abilities of social networking will advance.

Four broader internet trends at play

  • On-line social networks will change the way we think, interact and view our corporation and they will change the way we think about enterprise software.

  • The applications you thought to be "consumer services only" will be inside the enterprise.

  • The rise of user generated content is upon us like a tidal wave - and its coming to an intranet near you.

  • The age and demographic profile of your users, customers, employees and yourself has shifted.