There are currently two very different views on social media, especially concerning its value to business.
Some will tell you that it’s just too big to ignore, the whole world is using it and it’s not going away; if you’re not at least considering making it work for you then you’re already way behind.
Others say it’s just the latest over-hyped big thing, a distraction for the workforce and, as nobody can make a convincing case for the ROI, a potential black hole for investment.
The truth lies somewhere in-between. The new technologies do offer enormous potential benefits for business but only the best have worked out how to realise them. Whilst some companies have struggled however, there are plenty of developers, consultants and evangelists out there to help them make sense of it all. The applications and their uses are improving all the time and the variety and choice is growing too; all of which suggests a prosperous on-going future for these new mediums.
Whatever the long-term prospects, it’s clear that businesses today can’t afford to just ignore social media. Even if the decision is ‘not for us’ they must at least consider the potential impacts, positive and negative, on both their external and internal communications and relationships. And, as with anything as fast-moving as new technologies, they need to keep revisiting their analysis.
One indicator of the growing importance to business of social media is the fact that The Economist recently produced a special report ‘A world of connections’. It’s well worth a look, especially the article on the challenges, issues and benefits facing those trying to the deploy the new technologies within their businesses.
The Economist argues, and who am I to disagree
‘…social-networking technologies are creating considerable benefits for the businesses that embrace them, whatever their size…this is just the beginning of an exciting new era of interconnectedness that will spread ideas and innovations around the world faster than ever before.’
A version of the article also appears on www.GNIUS.co.uk