Social technologies are an essential part of any modern organization, and this is even truer for exponential organizations (ExOs). They act as the nervous system of the organization, collecting data from the community, disseminating new ideas and innovations, and building greater cohesiveness among all the players. Social Technologies encompass communication tools, collaboration tools, and workflow tools, which enable the real-time enterprise. In this chapter, we will explore the importance of social technologies, the impact of new crypto and web3 technologies, and the emergence of social technologies in the metaverse.
The Social Technologies attribute is about encouraging social interaction in the ExO via technology. It includes communications, collaboration, and workflow, and explores how to do this well. The heart of the Social Technologies attribute is the goal of encouraging social interaction through collaboration and workflow. Social Technologies encompass communication tools, such as social messaging and discussion forums, collaboration tools, such as cloud-based document management for sharing and real-time editing, and workflow tools to manage tasks and activity streams.
Zoom is the embodiment of the long-held belief that when human beings have a face-to-face discussion, they enhance that discussion with an additional dimension of interaction. There’s something about being in the room with somebody that is the highest order information exchange. On zoom, you just see your counterpart’s face, of course. But still, that’s a distinct improvement over email. It’s also better than just a voice on the other end of a telephone line. The human face offers huge amounts of underlying emotional information in the tone of the voice, the eye contact, the level of distraction, and so forth. You can make a case for Zoom as merely a platform for video calls and meetings. But that doesn’t capture its true value or importance.
Social technologies are not a standalone ExO attribute, though the presence of giant social media companies in this space may suggest that. Corporate social networks, though they may use those popular platforms, are a very different beast. For one thing, they incorporate another Attribute, Engagement, which can be seen as the core methodology of Social. Further, in this case, unlike the better-known big social networks, corporate social is characterized by peer-to-peer communication and collaboration, not friendly social contact (which are manifestations of Engagement alone).
According to J.P. Rangaswami, former chief scientist at Salesforce, when it comes to advancing a business, there should be three key objectives: 1) reduce the distance between obtaining (and processing) information and decision-making, 2) migrate from having to look up information to having it flow through your perception, and 3) leverage community to build out ideas. Done properly, Social Technology can help an enterprise achieve all three of these goals. When implemented, these elements create transparency and connectedness and, most importantly, lower an organization’s information latency.
Recent studies suggest that innovation in companies has not only not been slowed, but instead even accelerated by remote work. In an independent study, Roulet and Laker report that in many cases, the restrictions imposed by new forms and interaction tools lead to more diverse contacts and smaller groups in which individual signals can be linked. That can amplify new ways of thinking that precipitate the creativity of teams. Before Covid forced every organization in the world to go virtual, most CEOs were trying to ban social tools because it was too messy to manage, and because all of their employees were using it without authorization. With the pandemic, they were forced to reverse themselves and adopt these social tools. The tools themselves have become more powerful as a result, and we have also seen continued expansion of internal social networks.
Social Technologies enable the real-time enterprise. As we noted in our earlier book, there are seven elements of these Social Technologies. Let me briefly summarize each of them:
- Social networking: Social networking sites enable individuals and organizations to create and maintain relationships with other people or organizations.
- Social publishing: Social publishing tools allow people to publish and share content, such as articles, videos, and photos, with others.
- Social messaging: Social messaging tools enable people to communicate with each other in real time, whether through instant messaging, chat rooms, or other platforms.
- Social collaboration: Social collaboration tools enable people to work together in real time, regardless of their physical location, through tools such as wikis, blogs, and project management software.
- Social analytics: Social analytics tools allow organizations to analyze and interpret the vast amounts of data generated by social media, in order to better understand their customers, competitors, and markets.
- Social mobility: Social mobility tools enable people to access social technologies from anywhere, at any time, using a wide range of mobile devices.
- Social cloud: Social cloud tools enable organizations to leverage the power of cloud computing to deliver social technologies to their employees and customers, without having to invest in expensive hardware or software.
Together, these seven elements of social technologies provide a comprehensive framework for understanding how social technologies can be used to transform organizations and create real-time enterprises.
The real-time enterprise is a new type of organization that is able to respond quickly and effectively to changing market conditions, customer needs, and competitive pressures. Social technologies are a critical enabler of this new type of organization, providing the tools and platforms necessary to create a truly collaborative and agile workplace. By embracing social technologies, organizations can create a competitive advantage that will enable them to thrive in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of business.
The second module of the ExO Sprint program has explored the concept of social technologies and their impact on organizations. Social technologies are tools that allow people to communicate, collaborate, and share information online. They have revolutionized the way organizations operate and interact with their customers, stakeholders, and communities. The module has covered several case studies, including Canva, Whatsapp, Miro Boards, Slack, Asana, and Discord. These companies have leveraged social technologies to create collaborative environments that enable teams to work together seamlessly, regardless of their location. They have also used social technologies to engage with their customers and communities, creating a sense of belonging and fostering innovation.
Canva is a collaborative graphics tool that has created an environment for social collaboration. It is a multi-billion dollar company with a current valuation of $40 billion and was co-founded by a teenager. Canva has built a strategic network of investors and advisors that have provided valuable introductions, insights, and influence, enabling important doors for future growth. Canva is predicted to play a key role in powering the next generation of DAOs.
Whatsapp is one of the biggest phenomena in the world of consumer social networks. It currently reaches about 2 billion people worldwide and is the most-used mobile messenger app in the world. During the pandemic, WhatsApp became the go-to platform for communications by companies, governments, non-profits, and international organizations. These institutions had sent more than 4 billion messages, often to remote and low-income communities.
Miro Boards provide virtual whiteboards for real-time and asynchronous collaborative brainstorming and note-taking capabilities. It is used by an estimated 35 million users (used by 99 percent of the Fortune 500). Team participants can be co-located, distributed, or fully remote.
Slack is the granddaddy of Internal Social tools. It was bought by Salesforce in 2021 for a staggering $27.7 billion. Slack provides a messaging platform designed specifically for the office and other workplaces. Slack’s service offers a number of distinctive apps, notably persistent chat rooms organized by topics and direct messaging. Slack is used by 12 million people daily through more than 2,000 integrations. Seventy-nine percent of business customers say that Slack improves their workplace, while teams say that productivity grows by more than 30 percent.
Asana of San Francisco is a web and mobile work management platform that has created a software-as-service platform. It is designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. Teams using Asana can develop projects, manage tasks, assign work, communicate about tasks, and specify deadlines. The product also includes a wide range of supporting apps, and can even track a company’s progress on moonshots and towards its MTP.
The module has also explored the future of social technologies. Remote working will remain a mainstay in working life, and social networks will not just operate within the company but will create peer-to-peer connections across a company’s entire community. Social will extend from conversations to full emotional sensing, and hanging out in a virtual room with colleagues will be the new norm. The speed of collaborative virtual innovation will exceed that of collaborative in-person innovation, and AI will analyze conversations to extract key points.
Eventually, AI will be an ongoing partner to conversations inside an organization. Employees will interact within an organization using algorithms to improve productivity, accuracy, and clarity. Zoom-type calls will evolve into metaverse meetings using avatars, VR headsets, and other devices. AI-based digital twins will emerge that will shadow, support, and enhance their human counterparts. Extended reality will be used to communicate quicker, better, and adding more intelligence to the conversation. Metaverse collaboration environments will explode, and the rise of the spatial web as the destiny of social. There will soon be a point where the resolution of the images we capture will surpass the capability of the human eye to distinguish between them. This means that we will be able to capture and display images with such incredible detail that they will look completely realistic, even to the most discerning eye. We are already seeing this trend with the emergence of 4K and 8K displays, and it is likely that we will continue to see improvements in resolution and visual fidelity in the years to come.
However, even with these advancements in technology, there will always be limitations to what we can see and perceive. For example, our eyes are only capable of perceiving a limited range of colors and brightness levels, and we are also limited in our ability to see in low light conditions or in situations with high levels of contrast.
Furthermore, while technology may be able to capture and display images with incredible detail, it cannot replicate the other sensory experiences that are associated with a real-life event or environment. For example, a photograph or video of a waterfall may capture the visual beauty of the scene, but it cannot replicate the sound of the rushing water or the feeling of mist on your skin.
In summary, while advancements in technology will continue to push the boundaries of what we can see and perceive, there will always be limitations to our sensory experiences and the ability of technology to replicate them.
Module is complete, keep up the great work change maker!
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