Social Media and Social Business: What's the difference?
The time has come to clear the air about the differences between Social Media and Social Business. While people are free to use whatever terminology they feel appropriate, it is to our mutual benefit to find common ground and reach a general agreement about the relation of these two key terms to each other, and the meaning of each alone.
To that end, allow me to start the discussion by proposing this very basic taxonomy for your consideration.
- Social Media - (external to your organization). The spaces where we interact with one another over the Internet, including public, private and semi-private spaces defined within, and by certain contexts. To a large extent, the average consumer thinks of Facebook and Twitter as being Social Media, but it is clearly much broader and more dispersed then an average consumer believes. It also references the content (media) we create and share online that connects us with each other, and is therefore the medium through which we are social with one another.
- Social Software - (internal for your organization). The software and technologies that connect us inside organizations of all sizes that optimize our workforce collaboration, communication and creativity. What makes it social and more powerful is when that software provides an awareness of the connections we have, and the connections we need, to produce maximum value - and encourgages those connections to be made. In many cases, it connects the organization with external social media and external social media with the organization, without regard for traditional organizational boundaries.
- Social Business - (encompassing both together, or addressing either alone from a strategic perspective). Social Media and Social Software leveraged in support of the broader needs of the organization, either together in an all encompassing strategy where both are integrated and optimized holistically, or separately when either is used in support of an organizational outcome. Social Business has increasingly become the more broadly used term referencing the strategies and tactics an organization uses to adapt to, and benefit from, a market that has been transformed by Social Media.
Please note, these are not intended to be definitions per se, or an end point in this conversation, only a simplified way of understanding one in relation to the other. This is merely the beginning of a wider discussion I am seeking to have with you, and within our many Social Media Club chapters over the month ahead.
That said, I have been discussing this general approach with various leaders in the industry as well as many of my colleagues for the past several months and getting a positive reception to this framework. It’s important to expand this conversation now in light of how the public's understanding of Social Media has evolved and how our usage of these terms has created some confusion.
As such, it is our duty as the leading global association of Social Media professionals to start this conversation, to remove any confusion and to put forth a simple model for bringing about a more widely understood clarity to our use of these important terms. Our collective efforts can enable us to find common ground that will ultimately benefit the industry and our ability to help others understand what we are working to accomplish.
So what do you think? Does this framework put Social Media, Social Business and Social Software into their proper places?