Listening to the Voices of Social Business « A Smarter Planet Blog

Ethan McCarty, Director of Enterprise Social Strategy and Programs, IBM

By Ethan McCarty

The common view in the business world is that social media is simply a fun tool for checking in with friends and family – something that I, and millions of others, enjoy every day. However, this perception sells social media short and ultimately prevents many businesses from harnessing its true potential.

The fact is that the possibilities of social media go well beyond casual use ofFacebook and Pinterest. Its power and influence extend beyond a simple tweet or a pin.

Social media is a force for organizational change and business value. A recent IBM survey found that more companies are tapping into the power of social business. Almost half of the companies surveyed increased their social business investments in 2012.

Companies with the foresight and know-how to apply it thoughtfully, and with rigor, will be the big winners. A great example is social media’s ability to spur the convergence of brand and culture. It encourages people to integrate their personal and professional personae in ways that lead to new and valuable ideas and work – for the individuals and their organizations.

An example of this convergence is a new IBM social website and web service called Voices.  Voices is a real-time data service that showcases live social feeds of IBMers who are experts in big data, mobile, social business, cloud, cognitive computing and much more. But it doesn’t end there. Voices then marries the individuals’ thoughts with IBM’s company feeds (@IBM, @SmarterPlanet, @IBMResearch) etc.), as well as a word cloud that shows visitors what’s trending via data visualization technology originating from IBM Research.