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Social Business

After some soul searching I've just started updating my various personal profiles around the web to say I'm a social business evangelist rather than saying enterprise 2.0I've got close to this before.  I wanted to explain why now.  For me that terminology change is a big deal because I'm not 100% comfortable with "social business", but it's not me rather the market that decides.  If we move the clock forwards 5 years I'm sure we'll be using different language again, and I believe the way the smart companies use social media and social tools in their businesses today will be as natural and essential to any organisation as a website, email, phones or mobiles (cell phones for my US friends, handys for the Germans - language is so crucial!).  I actually prefer the term "amplified enterprise" because the terms "social business" (as used by the likes of Dachis, Altimeter Group and IBM) or "social enterprise" (as used by Salesforce) are already occupied by a very different idea.  Go ask the average, non-technology oriented bushiness person in the street and see what they say.  Actually my perspective on this topic has 4 dimensions:
  • The social ...

Using the Cloud for personal productivity with Evernote

I've just made a significant switch in one of the main tools I use for my own personal productivity which highlights a key trend for the industry and all of us - the personal cloud.  Whether it is for work or our personal lives we use desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, media players and tablets and a lot of the time we need to get at the same stuff from each device.  For some time we've been used to setting up our smart phones so we can sync and access the same email as on the computer or the web, and the early adopters and geeky types have been sharing photos and documents too.  The personal cloud will make that easy and more pervasive for everyone.  

Let me explain more with the key tool that I use for all my writing, note taking, project documentation and capturing of ideas.  Since January 2005 I've been using what I believe is Microsoft's best and most undervalued product - OneNote.  OneNote is a free form note taking application with a user interface that looks like the Windows equivalent of a cool Moleskin notebook.  I can type, draw, insert pictures or make screen clippings and capture my thoughts in multiple notebooks.  .. ...

Social Business at IBM's Hopper Collaboration Diner

This week I was invited by IBM (and Ogilvy PR) to join in the collaboration debates at the Social Business Expo, a new strand of the Unified Communications Expo at Olympia .  This is not an event I would normally attend, covering everything from phone handsets through VoIP to tele conferencing, but I'm sure the social business component of ths show will get even bigger next year.  The attraction was to be part of what IBM is doing, which moves a long way from your typical steel, white and blue corporate show stand.  Their event was themed around recreating the late night downtown diner scene depicted in Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks painting from the 40s.  It represents loneliness and alienation.  IBM are the sponsor, but their partner Collaboration Matters came up with the concept, created and hosted the stand.  The front of the cafe was peopled with actors who remained in character throughout both days, and who alternated between the original solitary view, and using smart phones, iPads and Macs to collaborate and connect with people.  Each character had their own Twitter identity so we could interact and break through the social isolation. ...

Social Business needs a Cnut

Careful with that spelling (for some reason I preferred it to Canute or Kanute).  Here is my premise.  I think, like Clay Shirky, that we are living in a period of transformation rivalling the changes in society triggered by the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, photography, film, television, or the start of the Internet (web 1.0).  The application of social media inside and outside of business is changing everything.  However, since around 2009 some of us on the leading edge of this curve, who up to this point have talked about enterprise 2.0 or web 2.0 applied to business, have been drifting towards using the term Social Business to describe it.  Language is important.  For me that language is wrong.  If I ask the average woman or man in the street what a social business is they would tell me about organisations with a social conscience, philanthropic goals and ethical conduct - micro-blogging, collaboration and social media monitoring wouldn't enter their heads.

Back on August 26 2009 Dennis Howlett wrote a post on ZDnet that triggered a fair amount of controversy  - "Enterprise 2.0: what a crock".  His premise was .. ...

Don't Panic! - it's the era of the Big C

The last week or so has confirmed my belief in, to quote Douglas Adams' great character Dirk Gently"the fundamental interconnectedness of all things".  Don't panic!  Let me explain a series of events that all tie together with connections and communication and a lot of other Cs that say something about the amazing period of history and business environment we are living in.  

We've just started working on a new website and community project for Anne Marie McEwan's "The Smart Work Company".  I've been a huge fan of Anne Marie's approach since we first met at Tuttle and then participated in one of the sessions at the inaugural November 2008 Amplified event at NESTA.  It was "#22 From conscripts to followers - new forms of leadership and organization" triggered by these posts from Euan Semple and I about the effect of social media tools on the traditional business hierarchy, decision making and culture.  That passionate discussion falls in to the heart of what Anne Marie's company is all about - challenging the status quo, breaking down silos and finding new ways to work.  It's a joy to be working on the design and messaging of a site ...

On Twitter I'm 4 years old

My Tweetdeck todayBack on Valentine's day 2007 I signed up to this weird short messaging thing that posted your status updates on a web page and sent them as SMS messages to your mobile phone - it was called Twitter.  At that stage it had been going for almost a year very quietly somewhere - Jack Dorsey actually sent the first tweet on a service then called twttr on 21 March 2006 with it launching publicly in July 2006  (although contrary to popular belief, Twitter was invented in 1935).

At the start of 2007 it was a best kept secret, and didn't even start as a separate company until April of that year.  I was early enough to grab a 2 character ID, my normal nickname in business, DT.  Those few of us that were cool enough to have heard about it then were the social media early adopters who usually signed up to any and every new web 2.0 service and tried to figure out if it was useful.  Twitter didn't really begin to take off until a few months later when two big plasma screens were set up displaying Twitter as the official backchannel at South by South West 2007 (SxSW).  From that point user take up really began to spread.

A year ago Twitter users were sending ...

SOMESSO/Headshift Social Business Summit - a meeting of minds

I've been a regular at every SOMESSO event so far, and Lee Bryant kindly invited me to the latest incarnation last Thursday - a joint SOMESSO and Headshift one day Social Business Summit.   Sorting out a very embarrassing attack of the ave.exe virus delayed me enough that morning to miss the two keynotes from Jeff Dachis and JP Rangaswami (my Mac friends tell me I should make the switch, but I'm stubbornly staying on Windows along with 90% of my customers).  I was particularly disappointed missing JP, as everyone told me his session was excellent, breaking the way ahead with the social business topic down to transaction cost.  As soon as the video of his session is available, I'll update this post to include it.  

The social business theme is dear to my heart.  The word social and the social media term can be counter productive when talking to some business leaders about the way businesses needs to change in the 21st century.  This summit meeting was all about applying what I would call enterprise 2.0  and some would call social tools (blogs, wikis, micro-blogging, tagging and other collaboration tools) to help businesses be more ...

Twitter is 4 today

A few months back on the 19th of November 2009 NESTA, as part of their Silicon Valley comes to the UK  sequence of events, televised a discussion called "Social Media: A Force for Good?".  The panel was  our very own national treasure, actor, QI master and twitterphile  Stephen Fry, Biz Stone the Founder and Chief Executive of Twitter, and Reid Hoffman the Founder and Chief Executive of LinkedIn (you can see what they said below).  The proceedings were moderated by NESTA's own Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum,  and in his introduction he said:
"It feels like there was never a world before Twitter"
Well 4 years ago today, this was the first ever tweet from Jack Dorsey (via Mashable):

As Biz Stone alludes to in the NESTA session, the idea of using some form of SMS messaging between groups came out of a brainstorming session while they were all working on something else that was going so well for ODEO.  At first they dropped the vowels from the name in common with a trend  for web 2.0 services started by Flickr.   Today four years ago was when they started testing....

Social Media in the Enterprise in London on March 15

Next week is going to be very busy for anyone interested in the future of business.  You know that Social Media in the Enterprise is one of my key topics.  Last June I spoke at the Corporate Social Networking Conference on the business case.   The next incarnation of that conference comes back to London next week, although it's one of 4 conference streams of a 2 day event with associated exhibitions and workshops at Olympia on Monday and Tuesday, March 15 & 16.  The other three streams are the Social Media World Forum, the Social TV Forum, and Mobile Social Media.  

The Social Business Summit - special offer for BTZ readers

Here's news of a special offer for readers of Business Two Zero.  I've always supported SOMESSO events since speaking at their first one in Zurich back in 2008.  SOMESSO stands for social media espresso - it's a strong, fast hit of social media for the corporate world.  Every event so far has had top notch speakers and impressive companies and practitioners in the audience, resulting in some great discussions and conversations.  Their next event is in London next week on Thursday, March 18, organized in conjunction with my friends at Headshift (now part of the Dachis Group).  This one is positioned as a one day Social Business Summit, and even the title will spark some discussion.  Jeff Dachis will speak on how far we've come, and the impact of social tools in business to date.  My friend JP Rangaswami will then talk about where we are going, and how the socially-calibrated business of the future might operate.   The rest of the day will involve more discussion on where we might be headed, along with case studies on use of social media for collaboration internally, externally for marketing, support and connecting to the ecosystem.  ...