For all of the noise, Social Technology is slow to enter the HR Marketplace. LinkedIn is nearly a decade old, Facebook is 7, and Twitter is 5. While there are legions of trainers who purport to show how to use collaborative communications tools in organizational settings, there is little real progress in standardization. Armed with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS Feeds, Slideshare, and a host of other accounts, most of the news is hype.
Compared to the first generation of Internet tools and technology, this round is hitting the enterprise at almost half the speed. By this point in the original process, all of the fortune 500 companies had visible pressences. Today that number is still under 10%.
From an enterprise perspective, Social Media is still in its earliest R&D phases. The simple technologies that will ultimately become the backbone of organizational tech stacks are still shaping up. We know what they do, but we are still learning how to turn them into useful applications.
In the first era of software, technology moved from big buyers (like the military and AT&T) ‘down’ to street level users. PCs were not possible until the NASA space programs. Spreadsheets and other user level tools evolved from industry project planning applications. Inventory management and manufacturing operations software have their roots in military planning programs.
For nearly 20 years, the consumer marketplace has driven the evolution of technology. As big companies and government reduced their investments in R&D, gaming companies, software giants and venture capitalists have become the funders of R&D projects.
Technologies move from consumer usage to enterprise applications in the same way that ingredients move into meals. The core technologies are gathered together to solve a specific business problem just like flour, sugar, salt and eggs are assembled to make a cake. In this article, the raw technologies are those found in consumer settings. Applications are the way they are organized to create HR specific value.
The raw social technologies include:
- Short Messaging
(Twitter, Yammer, Facebook)
- Network Development
(Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook)
- Network Visualization
(Social Network Analysis, LinkedIn)
- Community Formation - Admin
(Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Ning)
- Communications Targeting
- Public Ranking and Rating
(Yelp, Netflix, Amazon, Glassdoor)
- Virtual Classrooms
(Webex, GoToMetting, Blackboard)
- Knowledge Assembly
- Knowledge Distribution
(Digg, Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious, RSS)
- Video Creation and Distribution
(YouTube, VIMEO, )
- Democratic Publishing
(Blogging, Ning, Fan Pages)
- Knowledge Marking
- Real Time Video
(Skype, GoToMeeting, Webex)
- Mobile Platforms
(Particularly multi player games like World of Warcraft)
(Human Input, Mobile Phones, RFID)
These raw technologies are associated with consumer platforms that often define the way we see them. We will be watching the impact of this technology wave on HR and business for the rest of the decade.
John Sumser is the founder, principal author and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine. John explores the people, technology, ideas and careers of senior leaders in Human Resources and Human Capital. John is the also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises Human Resources, Recruiting Departments and Talent Management teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy and branding guidance.