Social technologies are changing businesses by allowing your employees, staff-on-demand and customers to collaborate quickly and easily. Social tools enable faster conversations, decision cycles and learning—eliminating the lag between sharing, accepting and implementing a new idea.
What are social technologies in business?
Social technologies in business incorporate the many communication tools that make conversations in the workplace smoother, quicker and way more effective. They encompass communication tools (such as social messaging and discussion forums), collaboration tools (such as cloud-based document management for sharing and real-time editing), and workflow tools (to manage tasks and activity streams.)
Cloud services like Slack, Google Docs, and Zoom video conferencing enable teams worldwide to work seamlessly with transparency and trust with activity streams that provide real-time updates throughout organizations.
Features of social business tools include profiles, status updates, forums, group chats and social streams. The aim is to help businesses improve teamwork and collaboration, more easily share information and remove the top-down hierarchical approach.
Why are social technologies so crucial for Exponential Organizations?
When implemented, social technologies create connectedness and, most importantly, lower an organization’s information latency. JP Rangaswami, who served as Chief Data Officer of Deutsche Bank and Chief Scientist at Salesforce, listed the following three objectives of social technologies:
- Reduce the distance between obtaining (and processing) information and decision making
- Migrate from having to look up information to have it flow through your perception
- Leverage the community to build out ideas
How to implement social technologies for business growth
The use of social technologies in business results in faster conversations, decision cycles and learning and stabilizes teams during rapid growth. The social paradigm also serves as a gravity force, keeping the organization tightly connected to its Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) and ensuring that its diverse parts don’t drift away in pursuit of conflicting, even opposing goals.
Tips for driving the adoption of social technology in business:
- Recruit allies and champions within your IS/IT functions.
- Start with a small pilot and obsessively collect user feedback. Try multiple tools before picking one, as once you implement a tool like Slack organization-wide, it’s very disruptive to switch.
- Deploy mobile versions of the apps from day one.
- Train your potential late adopters early. Make sure the CEO and C-suite also use the tools for essential conversations, decisions and announcements.
- Use these tools to develop a “shared consciousness” and break down silos.
- Deploy across functions and hierarchies, including anywhere you have lean and agile initiatives.
- Keep it lean and streamlined—choose a primary tool that has a rich ecosystem of plug-ins and app integrations, like Slack, or use Zapier to create your own.
- Create and post a stream of relevant, sharp, funky and precise content about both fun, emotional and professional topics.
- Keep going. You’re building social culture in your organization.
A few of the most widely used social technology examples:
- Google Docs
- Miro Boards
These are just the starting point. There are thousands of other social technology tools for businesses to incorporate into their daily work processes.
Seven key elements of using social technologies in business
Social Technologies are comprised of seven key elements.
- Social objects
- Activity streams
- Task management
- File sharing
- Virtual worlds
- Emotional sensing
1. A social object is something “remarkable”. It’s something that gets people making remarks and starting conversations. The most important social object for your ExO is MTP.
For example, for TED, videos are social objects, as when shared with others, they provoke conversations that deepen the social connection. For Star Wars fans, the social objects are the episodes, characters and dialogue. When someone wants to greet your dog and ends up in a conversation with you, your dog is a social object (10x for golden retrievers).
2. Task management is also becoming increasingly social. Previously, it was primarily used as a to-do list but is now shifting towards a more agile approach. Teams continuously measure themselves by pushing codes and closing tickets, living by the metrics that task management software provides. Examples include Trello, Hive, SmartSheet, Asana, Wrike, Basecamp, Monday and others.
3. Activity streams are streams of data that are available company-wide, ranging from pricing date to coffee refills. Activity streams are facilitated by messaging services, like Slack, Yammer, Facebook Workplace, Telegram, Discord and Microsoft Teams, and APIs.
4. File sharing and cloud services enable teams to share easily and securely for collaboration inside and outside the organization. Examples include WeTransfer, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and OneDrive.
5. Telepresence has been around for many years in the form of video conferencing. While video conferencing was quite a hassle in the past, services like Zoom, Webex, GotoMeeting, Skype and others are now fast, easy to use and available on every device.
Telepresence enables employees to work proactively from any location and interact globally, reducing travel costs and improving well-being. Even more significant improvement comes from telepresence robots such as Beam from Suitable Technologies and Double Robotics, which leverage the user’s tablet. These robots even allow the user to be in multiple locations, which can significantly impact how to conduct business.
6. Emotional sensing is the last key element of social technology. It uses sensors—such as health sensors and meurotechnology—within a team or group to create a quantified workforce.
Team members will be able to measure everything about themselves and their work, preventing illness, burnout and irritation—also improving team flow, collaboration and performance.
Previously work was primarily focused on the importance of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), but the Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Spiritual Quotient (SQ) are now becoming increasingly important metrics as well.
6. Virtual worlds are becoming increasingly common, with options from the Metaverse providing immersive virtual experiences beyond telepresence—these range from desktop versions to full Virtual Reality experiences. Examples include Virbela, Topia and Decentraland.
Using social technology in business is critical for exponential growth
The entire social paradigm presents several critical implications for ExOs. Social technologies help organizations increase intimacy, reduce decision latency, improve knowledge and increase serendipity as they become more widely spread.
In short, social technologies enable real-time enterprise by allowing free-flowing and interactive communication.
To learn more about the other attributes, click here.