Social Networking for Business : a collaboration engineering guide in the 2.0 era

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If you read this blog it may be because the new approaches to collaboration and among them social networks interest you. You surely get their potential. You surely understand that deploying a tool, put passion and energy in your projet and pray is not the best way to make things work and achieve tangible results too.

A first sight, social networks are very easy : people, interactions, relationships, a hudge potential of value and, at the end, incredible and unexpected results. Unfortunately, for many reasons I won’t list here, what happens on the web does not happen within organizations in the same way.

Experience teaches us that there are many kind of social networks depending on their goal and context. That means specificities in terms of leadership, policies, operation, leverage. Each of these elements is itself defined as being a function of many other factors. A successful social network is a complex alchemy of knowledge of the purpose, interaction models, culture, incentives, communication, tools… What seems simple at the beginning actually supposes to articulate a myriad of things that have to be adjusted with fineness.

Success is not a matter of luck : it’s the consequence of a sharp analysis and, as a good wine, of a subtle assembly that needs both a deep knowledge and some “how tos”. If you want to learn what makes a successful social networks without neglecting any parameter, Social Networking for Business has been writen especially for you.

The author, Rawn Shah, is one of the best experts at IBM and the book is the result of many years of practice in a very “socially” active company and a deep understanding of the whole social networking field.

Thinking that any book could provide us with a magic stick that would make us successful is illusory. On the other hand it can gives us the strings, the indicators to use to build our own logic that fits our own context. Knowing that, Rawn’s book is particularly precise and has a rare deepness of analyze. No part of the question that’s been overlooked and we get a wonderful breakdown and keys for understanding these logics. More, the book is easy to read, clear, understandable, and concise. Once you read it, if you miss any detail to elaborate your own project, arguing that you didn’t know won’t be possible anymore.

I already mentionned Andrew McAfee’s book a couple of weeks ago. To understand the difference between both, let’s say that if social networks were travels, McAfee tels us that traveling is enriching, beneficial, that many already did it in many fashions and that we have a lot to learn from their experience. Rawn, as for him, explains us how to pilot the plane and everything we have to master beforme taking the pilot’s seat.

Those who find McAfee’s too generalist may find their graal here. As for me, I had the conformation of many things I used to think and learned some other things that will add to my toolbox.

Social Networking for Business: Choosing the Right Tools and Resources to Fit Your Needs is a must read for anybody seriously thinking of implementing social networks for business purposes.

To end, I’d like to thank Rawn for having offered me one of the first copies of his book the last time we met as well as  Luis Suarez who made the connection and without whom I would have missed the best book about business social networks I’ve read till then.

Feel free to come back, comment and share your feedback once you read the book I’m sure many interesting discussions may start from this book.