Is social networking the right term for the boardroom?

Something I have been thinking recently, does the term ‘social networking’ turn off the boardroom because of the word ‘social’? Ask a CEO if he needs social networking and the answer is probably no. Ask him if he needs his staff in the US to be able to access the tacit knowledge of staff in China and he might say yes, but use the term ‘social networking’ at your peril as it translates as ‘Facebook’ which translates as ‘timewasting’.

What sort of networking ever happened that wasn’t social anyway?

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2 Responses to Is social networking the right term for the boardroom?

  1. Neil Burston says:

    Jon,
    You are right that using terms such as “Social Networking” or “Facebook for Business” can be double-edged swords. They are starting to be familiar phrases for people so help initiate a conversation, but like most labels can be all too easily mis-used. I’ve found that being frank with people and accepting that Facebook and similar tools can be a monumental waste of time is startling for people to hear from a supposed advocate. But, if you then explain it can be a great way of keeping in touch very easily with a lot of people with very little effort, some of the benefits can become more apparent, especially when you compare it with other networking tools such as Conferences.

    I’ve found an increasing awareness of the phrases, but not their application to organizations for real benefits. However, they are a good starting point to go on to explain more and try to educate people about how these tools can help people work together in better ways.

    Having an example that relates to real life benefits, in terms that are relevant to the the individual or group also really helps. I’d encourage anyone trying to understand how social networking (for want of a better term!) to have a look at the ZDNet Whiteboard session by Brendan Tutt at http://lotusconnectionsblog.com/index.php?itemid=107 and then see how generically applicable this is.

    This is a great example to help give understanding that this is not just the latest Computer industry fad but actually goes a long way to helping people accelerate the process of connecting with the right people and information to get their jobs done.

    In the meantime, if you find a better phrase, then let us know!

  2. Jon Mell says:

    Thanks Neil, I absolutely agree with you about the phrase becoming more recognised but not the business benefits. I hope that this is a natural sign of the market maturing!

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