Businesses can learn from social web sites

Businesses can learn from social web sites

Copying tactics from the consumer world can help shared business projects

Firms running collaborative projects can improve their chances of success by copying trends from the consumer world, according to analyst Gartner.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are often viewed with suspicion by business managers.

But there are valuable lessons to be learned, according to Gartner vice president Jeffrey Mann.

“Social software is not about communicating with people with whom you work every day,” he said.

“It is about finding a manageable way to get input from all those people you don’t normally speak to, because they are the ones likely to challenge preconceptions and drive innovation.”

Involving at least 40 per cent of an employee user base will vastly increase the chances of a success for shared projects.

There are also tangible benefits from exploiting consumer preoccupations with reputation, as typified by MySpace “friend” counts.

“Reputation is a powerful incentive to users, with the possibility of getting recognition,” said Mann.

“It can also help with issues of governance ­ if people know that content
can be traced, they are much less likely to post material that is inappropriate or obscene.”