Social Media is one of the hallmarks of our digital age, enabling individuals and communities to create and share user-generated content. Starting about a decade ago with the rise of Web 2.0, we have seen the explosive growth of social media technologies, - e.g., blogs, wikis and podcasts, - as well as platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube with hundreds of millions of users. Social media is giving individuals unprecedented influence over business and governments, - causing Netflix to reverse its business strategy in October of 2011, and helping to topple governments in the Arab Spring.
But, despite the widespread success of public social networks, many companies have been slow to embrace social media as an integral part of their workplace. This is a problem, particularly for younger employees who are extensively using social media technologies in their personal lives, but cannot properly do so at work.
The Social CIO, a recently published study by Forrester Research, concludes that the number of businesses that are truly executing social initiatives remains surprisingly small. Companies are making investments in social platforms and technologies, but, in general, their efforts remain haphazard and disjointed. They may succeed within individual silos of the business, but they are not fully realizing the potential power of becoming a social business, - which Forrester defines as: “removing the barriers between people (employees, customers, partners) and information while making it easier for people to work together using that information to solve business problems.” The report observes that: