This chapter concludes and the introduction to social technology applied to business: it pulls together the elements of the social business ecosystem—profiles, applications, communities and forums, and more—and thereby provides the basis for understanding how to connect current and potential customers with the inner workings of your business or organization, where collaborative processes can take hold and drive long-term benefits.
At the center of the Social Web and the shared activities that define it are the online personas of participants: More than with prior anonymous discussion boards or cloaked personas, it’s an actual identity that is of value in a business context, since it is generally the motivation of an individual to be noticed as such that drives social participation in the first place. Though detailed personal information is (still) generally not available except to “trusted friends” or colleagues, the use of a real name or photo in one’s social profile is becoming common.
The Profile as a Social Connector
The role of the social profile as a connector cannot be understated in business applications of social media. Following on the prior discussion, the social profile provides two central social elements, both of which are essential:
- A tangible personal identifier around which a relationship can be formed
- A framework for accountability for one’s actions, postings, and roles taken in the relationship that forms
When people have that basic information, they will more readily enter into functional relationships and share or transfer useful knowledge. This is, of course, the primary objective in building a social business or supporting application. By connecting the organization with its stakeholders—whether a business and its customers or a nonprofi t and its members—social profi les form the basis for an accountable, productive relationship.