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Related CategoriesSocial Networking
Related Termsenterprise 2.0 , social media , social software , social computing , corporate social responsibility 
WikipediaSocial Business
del.icio.us Tags social business 
Flickr Photo Tags social business 

Making sense of Social Business

In the early days, Social Tools (blogs, wikis and the like) tended to be called Social Networking or Social Computing but as these tools entered the corporate realm, the dominant name became Social Media.

More recently, Social Tools have been adopted widely within organizations and called Enterprise 2.0 to set them apart from their use on the web and the realm of Web 2.0.

Then back in 2007, I was one of the first to talk about Social KM – using Social Tools to help manage and share knowledge.

With so many terms, it is all a little confusing: Social Tools, Social Software, Social Computing, Social Networking, Social Media, Social Marketing, Social KM, Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. To make matters worse, everyone has a different take on what they mean and their meaning is changing over time. To my mind though, this is OK, given the rapid evolution of the tools and their application.

More recently still, people have started to talk about Social Business. So what is Social Business?

Many people think Enterprise 2.0 is only about the technology while others like me think it is about the technology plus the organisational structures, processes and behaviours that govern their use.

To my mind, Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business are the same though I personally prefer Social Business as a term.

Others, who see Enterprise 2.0 as solely about technology, will probably continue to use both terms to draw a distinction, though I would rather see the E2.0 label dropped and replaced by the term Social Computing or Social Software.

So where does Social KM fit into all of this? Well if Social Business is the umbrella for the use of social tools within an organisation then both Social Media and Social KM can be seen as part of Social Business.

In the world of Social KM, to my mind, we also have two categories of Social Tool – soft-tools such as after action reviews, peer assists and knowledge cafes and techno-tools such as wikis and blogs – a powerful combination

In summary taking a simplistic, tools centred view:

  • Social Computing or Social Software is the technology.
  • Social Tools are both technology tools such as blogs and wikis and soft tools such as after action reviews and knowledge cafes.
  • Social Marketing is about using Social Tools for a marketing purpose.
  • Social Media is about using Social Tools for a marketing or communication purpose.
  • Social Networking is about using Social tools to network.
  • Social KM is about using Social Tools for a KM purpose such as knowledge sharing or collaboration.
  • Social Business (aka Enterprise 2.0) is all of the above and more. It’s about how social tools are used by a business in its totality.


This is a good start in understanding Social Business but we have to remember that it is not so much about the tools or the technology though these have been the drivers. It’s about a fundamental shift in how we work. It’s about moving from hierarchies to networks; to a business world where knowledge sharing, collaboration, connectedness and relationships are important and are leveraged towards business objectives. Social Business is more a mindset and an approach to business than it is about technology.

But one final twist.

The term Social Business has an alternative meaning that has been around a little longer than in the Enterprise 2.0 sense.

A Social Business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. This use of the term has grown from the work of people like Muhammad Yunus and he Grameen Bank that he founded to provide micro-credit to the poor, would be a prime example of a Social Business. The measure of success of a social business is not profit but the impact that it has on society, on people and on the environment.

We need more social businesses to create a sustainable world. In order to survive: we need to collaborate more, to make better decisions and to be more innovative. This to me is what KM is about and is its future. It’s Social Business in both senses of the term.


What is Knowledge Management? - David Gurteen



Mini-clip interview for Gurteen Knowledge with David Gurteen. What is Knowledge Management? Shot at ECKM 2006 in Budapest in September 2006.

Media Information: Image



The pages on this website are categorized into one or more of nearly 100 categories (themes or topics). This page below displays a list of other pages that belong to the Social Business category. You may view the list of pages belonging to another category by selecting the category in which you are interested from the drop-down 'Categories' menu at the top of this page.

Blog Post
  The two meanings of Social Business and the future of Knowledge Management
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 20 January 2011

  What is good for business is not necessarily good for society!
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 20 February 2011

  Are KM, Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business: One and The Same?
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 April 2011

  Solve these whispering problems before they become bellowing ones!
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 April 2011

  Demystifying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 25 July 2011

  Leading Issues in Social Knowledge Management
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 28 May 2012

  McKinsey Global Institute sees the value in social knowledge management
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 15 August 2012

  Social Knowledge Management: A conversation with David Gurteen
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 23 October 2012

  Video: Social Knowledge Management: A conversation with David Gurteen
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 26 November 2012

  Is Social Media silencing personal opinion?
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 24 February 2015

Book
  Leading Issues in Social Knowledge Management (Apr 2012) edited by David Gurteen

Category
  Social Business [13 items]

Past Event
  3rd European Conference on Social Media ECSM 2016
ECSM 2016
12 - 13 Jul 2016, Academic Conferences 
EM Normandie, Caen, France

  4th European Conference on Social Media
ECSM 2017
03 - 04 Jul 2017, Academic Conferences 
Mykolas Romeris University,, Vilnius, Lithuania

  Social Now 2018
Getting Results from Enterprise Social Tools
16 - 17 May 2018, Knowman 
Lisbon, Portugal

  5th European Conference on Social Media
ECSM 2018
21 - 22 Jun 2018, ACPI 
Limerick Institute of Technology, Limerick, Ireland

  6th European Conference on Social Media
ECSM 2019
13 - 14 Jun 2019, Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited 
University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen


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