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Be connected: the business impact of social media and many-to-many communication

Social media and new many-to-many communication technologies have a tremendous impact on society and on business. In a world where everyone is an influencer, involvement and being connected is key.

After the fall of the Eastern Bloc at the end of the 80’s, the Jasmine Revolution or Arab Spring is the next great (and positive) world event that will lead to a big wave of changes. A lot has been said and written already about these events and the role of social media in them.

While, during the downfall of the Eastern Bloc, the church played a crucial role as ‘social’ meeting place, this role is now played by the Internet, with social media such as Facebook and micro-blog sites such as Twitter.

Everyone is an influencer

The role of the media has always been an important part of opinion making and reason of change in the world, but usually these media were in the hands of a limited amount of people and groups. The Internet, however, makes sure that simply everybody can make and influence news.
The fact that nowadays this becomes very clear throughout the world due to the Arab Spring is a clear confirmation of this, and it is interesting because of the enormous impact it has caused.

However, the question arises which impact these social places will get in the Western world and especially in business life and how this is going to evolve in the future.

Until a couple of years ago, the Internet was a one-way street, where information could be shared, goods could be exchanged and news could be followed.

Actively involving your employees with social media

However, now it seems to become one huge social meeting place for many-to-many communication with all its related effects. However, just as the church in the 80’s and 90’s was the meeting place to bring about changes, the Internet can get a different goal in the Western world also and actively start causing changes.

Do the leaders of large companies look at the possible consequences of social media on business and the management’s position while trembling with fear?

Up to now, the approach of many companies was to use social media as a marketing tool, but a lot more can be gained from it by approaching employees actively and apply crowd sourcing.

Here, employees are asked actively for their opinion and ideas, and they are being involved actively with the organization. This way they can exert influence on strategy and certain critical issues. When this is carried out correctly, the employees’ loyalty will increase, and more buy-in will be created for the strategy and daily management.

The company could possibly even reward the employees for this. Of course, the opposite could also happen, because the employee has gained more influence via the Internet and especially via the social networks just as the citizens in the Arab world have.

Many-to-many communications: the impact of new technologies such as LTE, Wimax and HD video conferencing

So it is important for big companies to assess this phenomenon correctly and apply the right strategy. The impact that these many-to-many communications will have on the Internet and on its users will be gigantic.

New technologies such as LTE and WiMAX make it possible to communicate at even higher speeds, whereby new applications come within reach of all users. Interactive TV and the many-to-many communications with images will be the next step. Besides this, we will see a convergence of several services such as network services, applications and mobile services.

High definition video conferencing, which allows communicating with several people across the globe at the same time, is of course already well known in the corporate world. With new hardware and new communication techniques, these applications will also become available for regular consumers.

Next to the use of text, the use of video in a many-to-many situations will start increasing considerably.

Technology as an enabler of better employee and market relationships

These evolutions and the influence of social media will encourage companies to define new policies, but especially to improve its relationships with its employees and with the market.

More than ever, companies will have to become an integral part of the chain between client and supplier. Just like the North-African population, groups can start exerting their immense influence.

Be Connected is the motto, in order to avoid unexpected actions and reactions and instead of this steer actively and create involvement. What do you think? Let me know here or in our LinkedIn community.

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