Best foot forward

Being a social media innovator can have its risks and benefits, and needs constant monitoring

Social networking, social media and social computing are the poster children of the Web 2.0 brigade. The huge growth of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the resultant explosion of client applications on mobile devices like the iPhone and Blackberry are testament to the demand for social collaboration between not only the digital natives (Gen Y and the Millennials) but also the digitally aware Baby Boomers and Gen X. While the impact of these technologies is more than evident on the internet, organisations big and small have begun to adopt, and adapt, social computing tools to internal use on their intranets as well as in communities with their business partners and customers. While some organisations have jumped in early, like IBM did, most others are still wrestling with the dilemma as to whether to climb on the social bandwagon or not, and if so, how soon. These tools can be classified according to many different schema, but at the end of the day it really boils down to their ability to help you share information, find and connect with people, and collaborate with people in both real-time and store and forward modes.

Ian McNairn

Ian McNairn is the programme director for web innovation and technology within the office of the IBM chief information officer, based in the UK but in a worldwide role. He acts as a catalyst between innovators and implementers, facilitating the flow of ideas, best practices, standards and leadership and is an evangelist in the social software, collaboration and knowledge management arenas. Before joining IBM, he was the global IT strategy director for the global insurance broker Sedgwick (Marsh & McLennan), and prior to that was a lecturer and researcher at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.