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Tools vs. People in the Hyper-Social Organization

Last night I attended Third Tuesday Vancouver a monthly social media meetup. Francois Gossieaux, co-author of “The Hyper-Social Organization” talked about how social media is impacting businesses and how the most successful companies are adapting to it.

Last night I attended Third Tuesday Vancouver a monthly social media meetup. Francois Gossieaux, co-author of “The Hyper-Social Organization” talked about how social media is impacting businesses and how the most successful companies are adapting to it. Gossieaux’s talk was rich, packed with insightful content pulled from various disciplines – psychology, behavioral economics and, yes, marketing.

Using an approach he calls “Human 1.0”, Gossieaux advanced that in order to make sense of the fundamental shifts taking place in business today, we must focus on understanding humans, not web 2.0 tools. A no-brainer you might say? Not always so…

Let’s consider how some organizations are incorporating social networking within their own walls as Enterprise 2.0 initiatives. The most progressive businesses realize that they must themselves become more social internally in order to “go social” externally but what’s the approach most of them take?

They bring in tools. Twitter-like tools for micro-blogging, wiki tools, project collaboration tools, file sharing tools, the list goes on. Tools with content residing in them and clusters of people gravitating around them. Then leadership realizes that work processes have become a hairy mess. People are disconnected. Instead of seeing improved communication and collaboration, more silos have popped up with tools and content at the center. And what does leadership then do, with the best of intentions? They get another tool. But this time it’s a beauty, a beast of an enterprise-wide system sometimes disguised as a friendly jack-of-all-trades promising to unify the mess. Does it help? Are people finally connected, understood and in the driver’s seat?

There is fundamentally nothing wrong with the tools, the problem, as Gossieaux pointed out last night, is that the focus needs to be on people and culture. What drives people to behave the way they do? How can employees and collaborators feel empowered and passionate about their work? How do they want to relate to each other?

Humans are inherently hyper-social beings. When the tools are enablers and work *for* them, connecting them and letting them interact the way they choose, people will succeed and organizations can finally experience the promise of social media.

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Michelle Mercier

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