If you’re still looking for the best ways to explain to senior management or your team or your coworkers or your spouse what it is that social media does, why it’s different than the old way people used to use computers and the web, why people are giving two hoots about it, here are some thoughts to start out the conversation. I look at this mostly from a business perspective, but I suspect you’ll find these apply to nonprofits and other organizations as well. Further, as I’m fond of saying, social media isn’t relegated to the marketing and PR teams. It’s a bunch of tools that can be used throughout businesses, in different forms. Think on this.
I’m not going to list all of Chris’ points but here are a few to whet your appetite.
Blogs allow chronological organization of thoughts, status, ideas. This means more permanence than emails.
The organizational aspects of blogs are one of their most overlooked features.
Social networks encourage collaboration, can replace intranets and corporate directories, and can promote non-email conversation channels.
Email is not optimized for the sorts information transfer that it is used for. It also makes it impossible to really know just who should see the information. Social networks open this up and make it highly likely that the right information to get to the right people.
Social networks can amass like-minded people around shared interests with little external force, no organizational center, and a group sense of what is important and what comes next.
Ad hoc group creation is one of the best aspects of social networks. Rapid dispersal of information amongst a small, focussed group can occur independent of the need for everyone occupy similar space at the same time, as is done in meetings.
Blogs and wikis encourage conversations, sharing, creation.
Facilitating conversations increases information flow, speeding up the creativity cycle
Social networks are full of prospecting and lead generation information for sales and marketing.
This applies to a much wider group than just sales and marketing because at some level, everyone at an innovative organization needs to look for leads.
Blogs allow you to speak your mind, and let the rest of the world know your thought processes and mindsets.
The personal nature of many social media tools helps enhance the ability of a group to innovate rapidly, without the feeling of a restricting hierarchy that can diminish creativity.
Tagging and sharing and all the other activities common on the social Web mean that information gets passed around much faster.
Web 2.0 approaches make it much easier to find information, even though there is more of it.
Innovation works much faster in a social software environment, open source or otherwise.
The diffusion of innovation throughout an organization is really dependent on the social network of that group, how well connected it is, how people communicate, etc. Social media allows innovation to spread much more rapidly, decreasing the rate of diffusion and allowing the creativity cycle to crank much faster.
People feel heard.
This is a big one. Studies have shown that if people feel that their viewpoint is not heard and do not understand the rationale for a decision they become the most upset. Having a chance to be a part of the discussion can make a big difference, even if they do not agree with the final decision.