December 19, 2011, 1:03 PM — Although companies have been urged to adopt "Web 2.0" and social technologies for years now, the truth is that relatively few have done so internally in any serious way -- and use inside the business is where the most value can be gained. Instead, the corporate focus on social technologies has been in marketing organizations that use it to monitor what customers are saying about the company and to try to influence customer views -- what's called reputation management -- by adding Twitter, Facebook, and so on to the traditional advertising and marketing channels. (And individual employees use social networking technology to build business relationships for their own benefit, of course.)
Despite the slow actual adoption for internal business benefit, the allure of social technology remains strong because of its potential to be a key value generator in a workplace that depends on collaboration, communication, and insights. Gartner analysts Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald say that serious use of social tech in business is thwarted by several reasons: executive fear, a misplaced focus on using social media solely for marketing, and a lack of "purposeful reasons" for building communities. That's too bad, they say, because the potential of social tech used within the business dwarfs the marketing benefit that so many focus on today.
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