A “Mouth House” for Today

“Mr. Watson, please come here.   I need to see you.”  This phrase did not represent the first social networking conversation.  In fact, social networking has been going on since the dawn of time.  Early man used drawings in addition to other means of communicating.  Over time, technology advanced to the printed word, the telegraph and the telephone to name a few.

The world has continued to shrink in virtual size due to continued technological advancements in travel, television, wireless technology and the internet.  These advances have made the earth and mankind reachable from nearly all parts of the globe.  Today, social networking has evolved into a coalescence of many technologies in which networking goes beyond the connectivity layer to the relationship layer.

Social networking brings people together who have commonalities, share ideas and information as well as providing the 21st century’s version of the “meeting house”.

The Meeting House has marked history as a gathering place.  The US colonists would congregate in churches to share ideas and connect with each other.  The tradition evolved from England whereby locals would gather in pubs, or in homes, and converse.  The “meeting house” provided an outlet for people to share all sorts of ideas.  In fact, it was also called a “mouth-house” where discourse and discussion were encouraged. Today, we would call that collaboration.

While today’s social networking is not new (Facebook with more than 700 million strong and Google+ exceeding 20 million faster than Facebook, as examples) to anyone, the adoption in the Enterprise arena has been much slower.  For obvious reasons, security and validation of collaborative benefits have to be reviewed and supported by businesses.  Nonetheless, adoption is occurring to the tune of approximately $500 million annually and growing at more than 35% annually.  So, while not at the explosive rate of these consumer social sites, the Enterprise results are impressive and have a lengthy runway.

Businesses assess the benefits that internal collaboration can provide to their firm including productivity, revenue growth, employee satisfaction and consistency with workforce expectation.  However, when packaged with social media information and other tools, an interesting progression can take place.  A solution is born.

This is done similarly to the solutions that were born in the “meeting house,” or “mouth house” days.  In those  days, interaction included not only ideas being shared, relative to the issue(s) at hand, but also direct and near real time feedback from the community at large.

With social networking for the enterprise, ideas and feedback delivers the venue for employees to coalesce in a meaningful and rewarding way.  By incorporating the social media element, customer input is neatly linked to ideas, adoption and workflow of all types.  This truly allows for real time input from the now global community at large.  What makes this so intriguing and dynamic is the fact that it can be done quickly.  The acceleration at which adoption and success can be realized is truly amazing.

By leveraging the benefits of the cloud, the various pieces needed to provide for such a dynamic solution become much easier to acquire.  Barriers are now much lower to incorporate these benefits into business workflows.   The true test is what and how these tools result in true benefits.

One simple view is the near proportional link of cost to benefit.  Many of these tools/solutions can be scaled directly to accommodate for size of the need.  Simply put, provide a room the size necessary to accommodate the attendees.  If you need more space, get a bigger room.  Enterprises will be able to invest in a solution for social networking directly proportional to the associate benefit or revenue.

One size does not fit all.  Consequently, companies that properly scale their investment and balance the overall internal collaboration and client interaction, will see the most benefit.  Together they help drive the barriers to entry much lower.  The foundation to facilitate the potential growth is there and able to meet the client’s need.

Networking continues to evolve but the basics remain…..the need for information to be shared and heard.  That is a powerful tool for everyone including the Enterprise.  Harnessing the benefits and creatively applying them to the uniqueness of each corporation is where lies the skill.  Technology will not sit by idling as new innovation will continue to be introduced.

Next we will look at how content coupled with social networking and social media will empower the Enterprise.

So, how has social networking changed the way you work?  How has it affected your job and the very nature of work?  Your comments (below) will help others understand the maze of today’s modern “mouth house” called social networking.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team