Just before the Christmas break, I got myself a few books from the library to so some reading over the break. This was one of the items I borrowed: Enterprise 2.0: How Social Software Will Change the Future of Work. The author, Niall Cook, is the Worldwide Director of Marketing Technology at communications consultancy Hill & Knowlton. I chose this book because I felt that Enterprise 2.0 is the overarching concept of applying social software or social media to organizational settings. It certainly was a good read and I would like to introduce some of Niall’s concepts to you. You can check out a lot of the original materials on his website: enterprise2dot0.com.
Niall uses four primary functions of social software to distinguish between different tools/applications, namely connection, collaboration, cooperation and communication. This distinction is straight-forward and intuitive, although some overlap between the functions exists. As you can see, there are two scales on which each function can be placed, i.e. formality and interaction. A company with an informal structure and a culture of rewarding individual effort would find itself in the lower left quadrant and may, thus, be encouraged to invest in social software facilitating communication between employees. Instant messaging, blogs or discussion forums may be appropriate tools to do so.