Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Power of Social Media

The latest IT wave of digital is comprised of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud known as SMAC, in short.  Some of us may wonder about the role of social in digital and it may appear to be an odd man out of S-M-A-C.

The reality is that social cuts across the digital forces - Mobile, Analytics and Cloud.    Let me explain.  We all know that mobile is the user facing entity and the access point.  When multiple users communicate via mobile, it becomes a social platform.  This platform generates a lot of data to help organizations derive analytics for their business intelligence.  The amount of data generated is so huge that it has to be stored on to a cloud data store.  So, social plays an important role as the integration element of SMAC.

Dr. Manu Vora has carefully chosen to write a blog post on "The Gift of Knowledge Transfer through Technology", a relevant topic for today's context.   Dr. Manu's post primarily talks about social collaboration via technologies such as Google Hangout and its direct and indirect benefits.  Based on Dr. Manu's experience, Google Hangout has various benefits. It is free and available to all, can connect a large number of participants, automatically record videos and post them to YouTube, conversations are available for offline reading etc. He has real experience of using social, in his projects, to improve knowledge, communication skills and creativity.   

But I believe that social has more power and I have attempted to list those additional characteristics - The 4Cs: 

a. Conversation - Traditional focus was always on communication - top-down or bottom-up and one-on-one or one-to-many.  With the advent of social, communication has become conversation - multi-directional and many-to-many.  Today when two people converse, many others get to listen, comment and contribute.   Take for example, a post in Facebook.  Many people that belong a network of the original poster can follow and contribute to the post.  Many times, conversations in Facebook get deeper on the topic of the post and also on the reach.  The power of social conversations is immense.

b. Collaboration - With social, task-based workplaces are replaced by collaborative workplaces. Teams collaborate to achieve a particular goal or an objective. The right team members voluntarily join hands with the focus of completion of goals and objectives.  For example, houzz.com is a collaborative way of designing the home.  In the earlier era, tasks were created and assigned to teams to get the work done.  

c. Crowdsourcing -  NASA has recently initiated a crowdsourcing effort to seek inputs on establishing sustained human presence on the planet Mars.  Let us imagine that there was no social concept, then how do you think NASA could carry out such an exercise.  Through crowdsourcing, organizations are able to perform huge tasks quickly and in a cost-effective manner with a strong innovation focus.  In olden days, huge tasks were always a challenge and many times impossible to do or complete.

d. Co-Innovation - The overarching characteristic of social is co-innovation.  Social provides a fantastic platform for everybody to join hands and innovate together.  The social platform can intrinsically motivate people to stay focused, develop novel ideas and also implement them in an efficient manner. Social platform helps in continuous improvement, a key attribute required to ensure quality.

Conversations, Collaboration and Crowdsourcing thus help organizations to Co-innovate leveraging the power of social.      

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