Social enterprise: Oxymoron or business logic?

MySpace may not be coming to the enterprise, but the business-grade social computing IBM targets is.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

In “MySpace: Coming to the enterprise?” I discuss IBM’s Lotus Connections pitch and note that networking among MySpace “friends” has nothing in common with enterprise collaboration.

MySpace may not be coming to the enterprise, but the business-grade social computing IBM targets is.

Why? The technology industry is abound with theory and data making the case for the ROI benefits of enhanced knowledge management and improved team work within the enterprise.

IBM on its Lotus Quickr software, “a new Web 2.0-based collaborative content offering designed to transform the way everyday business content is shared and enable more effective team collaboration”: 

Being competitive in today's dynamic marketplace requires that businesses have quick and easy access to important information and can share it across organizational, geographic and application boundaries. Lotus Quickr software breaks down these barriers by supporting a variety of content repositories, operating systems and desktop applications, making collaboration transparent and natural for users.

But can software really break down organizational barriers to unlock “hidden” enterprise knowledge assets and foster intra-company sharing? OR

Is the organization destined-- doomed--to reflect a “me first” modus operandi?

Stowe Boyd laments efforts that “miss the social bullseye” by being group-oriented, in what he characterizes as a "me-first" world. 

To bloster his case, Boyd puts forth MyFace and Facebook self-promotional member profiles and his personal blog:

Web 2.0 social tools…Social networks, explicit ones like MySpace and Facebook, or implicit ones in social media, are really organized around individuals and their networked self-expression. I am writing this blog post, and publishing it, personally. It is not the product of some workgroup. It is not an anonymous chunk of text on a corporate portal. My Facebook profile pulls traffic from my network of contacts, sources I find interesting, and the chance presence updates of my friends.

Boyd’s argument in favor of “real” social applications advocates anti-social and exclusionary sounding stances:

I am the center of my network,

The buddylist is the center of the universe,

I don't need to participate in groups to exist or to share, or to matter, in this world.

What world is “this world”?

The MySpace and Facebook worlds of “self-expression”? OR

The IBM envisaged corporate network world enabling team members to “work anytime, anywhere with anyone.”

The enterprise, and society, profits from a “we” world, as in we’re in this together world, not a “me” world, as in what’s in it for me world.

ALSO: Social Media conversations: Talking or selling?

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