Is It Social Software or Collaborative Knowledge Management That Gets Results?

A recent article over on Chief Executive on Tying Social Software to Business Metrics that Matter indicated that one of the biggest opportunities a company has to drive operating performance to new levels, run lean, innovate, and accelerate talent development is to tap the full capabilities of social software. As proof, it references “social software” deployments by OSIsoft, that realized a 22% improvement in average time to issue resolution through customer support’s use of Socialtext wikis, and Alcoa Fastening Systems, that reduced compliance activities by 61% using an internal collaboration platform.

Seems to me that the author is confused. “Social” software, at least in the common vernacular, refers to the social networks like Twitter, that makes a twit out of you, Facebook, that is contributing to the downfall of western civilization as you read this, and similar sites that have no real value and only provide you with ways to poke, prod, ping, and tweet your valuable time (and intelligence) away.

Wikis and similar platforms are really collaborative knowledge management platforms that allow users to collect, share, and create new knowledge that can help them advance themselves and the organizations they belong to, unlike social sites that only help them flitter their time away through pointless games and photo sharing. Yes there is a social aspect, but its about collaboration for education and innovation, not to see who can get the highest poke per minute count or follow the most twits who spend their days tweeting about how great Britney looks in her new outfit.

Social platforms only increase endorphins. In order to get results, you need to increase serotonin. That’s what collaborative knowledgement platforms do. Don’t get them confused.