Friday, 15 June 2012

A rose by any other name

How important are the terms we use in world of, er, oh dear, I've got to pick one: Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0, social networking, social media, social business, social intranets, social computing?  I've had a couple of interesting conversations this week with some folks from an Intranet company, and in their experience the word 'social' doesn't always go down well with customers.  The connotation is often of "not businesslike", "time-wasting".  But of the seven terms I've quoted, five use the word 'social'. Of the other two, Enterprise 2.0 is obscure in lay circles, and Web 2.0 is both too broad and too techie-sounding.  And in any case all these terms have subtly different meanings.

Can anyone help with a way of dealing with this? 

4 comments:

Saqib Ali said...

How about just calling in collaboration and co-creation?

Simon Carswell said...

Thanks, Saqib. Yes, those are pretty good terms, I think, although maybe covering a subset of what we're talking about. A very important subset, however.

Samuel Driessen said...

Good question! IMO you have to be able to explain newer business and technology topic in terms that people understand. In my experience it helps to talk about the underlying concepts, like processes, networks, etc. As soon as we talk about buzz words and tools people (can) focus on them too much.
On the other hand, when people go off talking about definitions and saying "social" is wrong I usually first ask why they have such a hard time with a definition and with the concept of 'social'. This makes their underlying convictions transparant.
Hope this helps!

Simon Carswell said...

Yes, great points, Samuel. I try to avoid buzzwords, but it is very easy to get sucked into using them, especially as I'm in the habit of using them when talking to other KM/IM people.