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The Forum Focus: How Social Media is Changing Business

February 28th, 2012 by The Forum Corporation
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As social media platforms proliferate, business leaders struggle to keep up.

In this week’s Forum Focus, we examine what social media means for learning, who should manage social platforms in companies, and why technology may mean that employees do not need to be in the office to be effective.

Learning and Social Media

In his piece for Chief Learning Officer, Dan Pontefract tackles the question of who should manage social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Pontefract takes issue with an MIS Quarterly article that lists the executive roles which will be affected by “social business.”  But one key role did not make the list:  The Chief Learning Officer.  Pontefract argues that the CLO’s responsibilities should include collaboration through social media and social learning.  At the same time, no one division should ‘own’ social media; everyone should get involved in the collaboration.

Business Agility and Social Media

In fact, everyone needs to be a little more nimble, especially when it comes to learning. In her piece for the Harvard Business Review, Nilofer Merchant explains that social media has not only changed the way we learn, it has changed the way businesses operate. Social media tools are a part of customer service across industries; they are also used to hold conferences, consulting sessions, and webinars. The physical space is becoming less relevant, and it is saving a lot of money. Social tools allow for fluidity and flexibility, which are two traits businesses need to survive.

Being a flexible business reaches beyond the ability to host webinars and provide customer service via Twitter. Tony Schwartz recently wrote that employers should do more than just allow their employees to work from home; they should encourage it.  Schwartz said that in his own business, he realized face time was less important than his employees having a balanced life, because it means they are doing their best work.


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