News travels fast, and nowhere does it travel faster than the Social Web. In his 2009 Wired article “Twitter-Yahoo Mash up Yields Better Breaking News Search,” writer Scott Gilbertson put it this way: “Whenever there’s breaking news, savvy web users turn to Twitter for the first hints of what might be going on.” What’s important in a business context is this: In both the bus schedule and laptop fire examples, the person offering the information is probably carrying a social-technology-capable, Internet connected mobile phone.
It is very likely that Twitter or a similar mobile service is also this person’s first line of communication about any particular product or service experience! The respective service and brand managers could easily track this using real-time social media analytics tools and thereby become immediate, relevant participants in these conversations. This kind of participation is both welcomed and expected to be present by customers. The great part of all of this is that by connecting, engaging, and participating, as a business manager you tap into a steady stream of useful ideas. See Chapter 12, “Social Applications,” for more on idea-generation platforms and their application in business
The Social Web (aka Web 2.0) revolves around conversations, social interactions, and the formation of groups that in some way advance or act on collective knowledge. Social media analytics is focused on understanding and managing specific attributes of the conversation: sentiment, source, and polarity, for example. Social business takes it a step further and asks “How or why did this conversation arise in the first place?”
For example, is the conversation rooted in a warranty process failure? The practice of social business is helpful in determining how to fix it. Is a stream of stand-out comments being driven by a specific, exceptional employee? Social-business-based processes will help your organization create more employees like that one. From the business perspective— and Marketing and Operations are both a part of this—understanding how conversations come to exist and how to tap the information they contain is key to understanding how to leverage the Social Web and to move from “So what?”
to “I get it!” Social business processes and technologies share insights generated by customers, suppliers, partners, or employees through collaborative applications in ways that actually transform a conversation into useful ideas and practical business processes. Social business is built around a composite of technologies, processes, and behaviors that facilitate the spread of experiences (not just facts) and engender collaborative behavior