Book Review: Social Networking for Business

 I just completed Social Networking for Business, Choosing the Right Tools and Resources to Fit Your   Needs, by Rawn Shah. This book would have been handy a couple of years ago, when I started down the social  computing path inside of my employer. The book is very well organized and is detailed enough to pass onto the reader the how to’s.

 Since Rawn works for IBM, he has much insight into a large enterprise and how they are using their social tools for overall collaboration for their employees, work teams and large innovated activities. He highlighted that collaboration can bring together skills and knowledge in more permutations than members might imagine. Drove home the point that social computing depends on the human factor. For me, I help out many teams or organizations with using our internal social tools to communicate and collaborate. The one point that really is hard for folks is using these tools is work. This is not Field of Dreams, just because it has been built, they will not come (back).

Rawn has broken his book into logical sections that if you are already engaged – you can skip to parts that you or company are struggling with.

  • Overview of Social Computing
  • Sharing the Social Experience
  • Leadership in Social Environments
  • Social Task (collaborating on ideas and creating and managing information)
  • Social Ecosystem
  • Building a Social Culture
  • Engaging and Encouraging Members
  • Community Management
  • Measuring Social
  • Social Computing Value

For me, the areas that really stood out are the Leadership, Engaging and Encouraging Members and the Community Management. Leadership is key to overall success. Don’t let anyone fool you, without leadership in this space, nothing will work well. I have witnessed the struggles of teams and organizations due to overall minimal leadership when applying the tools. Engaging and encouraging members will always be a point of emphasis (from the start and throughout the community life-cycle). There are many ideas in this section to get the braincells moving. Lastly, the community management chapter was extremely helpful for me.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. Rawn Shah definitely got me thinking about my activities within the internal social teams I lead, participate in or just read from time to time. This book will be on my bookshelf in the office as a resource and reminder to me…