What do the 4C’s, functional building blocks and Cisco’s S.O.C.I.A.L approach all have in common that would see them all appear in a single blog? Answering this question from the perspective of each being separate entities my answer would be not a great deal except that they all relate to the use of social media in the business arena. The 4C’s and functional building blocks allow business to develop a better understanding of Social Medias role in business operations, a strategy for engaging with social media, and applying it to both internal and external users. And Cisco’s S.O.C.I.A.L approach demonstrates how these can be successfully utilised in business.
To paraphrase Cook from his 2008 book Enterprise 2.0. ‘How Social Software Will Change The Future Of Work’ the 4C’s include communication, these are the platforms that allow people to converse either video, voice, text, or image. Cooperation refers to the software that allows the sharing of content. Collaboration refers to the tools that allow people to work together to achieve goals. And finally connection which refers to the technologies that create the connections which makes this possible. At the functional level Cook classifies these as communications as including platform like Blogs, Instant Messaging, and social forums. Cooperation included social searching, cataloguing, bookmarking, and media sharing. Cook classified wikis and human based computations as collaboration, while connection includes mashups, syndication, social networking, and tagging.
Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy, and Silvestre Describes the functional building blocks of social Media as including presence, sharing, relationships, identity, conversations, reputation, and groups in their article ‘Social Media? Get Serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. These functionalities of social media refer to how much a user might reveal about themselves, or know about others within their networks, the security settings of their personal information, how much they communicate, how well informed they are of the availability of others, and how well networks form communities and groups. Each of the functionalities have implications for users. These implications include the need for balancing security settings with promotion, group membership rules and protocols, monitoring reputation, managing relationships, managing content, and the realities of your participation within the social media domain.
As a developer of networking equipment Cisco also developed a strategy for managing its employee’s use of social media in the workplace. The S.O.C.I.A.L approach (an acronym for the elements of their philosophy, scalable, open, consistent, intuitive, active, and limitless). As the companies philosophical framework it is supported by what Cisco refers to as their five pillars, Enablement, Intelligence, Engagement, Measurement and Advocacy. Employees are trained around this guiding their social media presence. Cisco does not try to stop employee’s using their personal social media in company time, preferring to trust and recognise the importance for employee’s to develop genuine trust relationships with clients. Only possible through genuine positive relationships between company and employee which requires a culture that is open and accepting of errors. It is a philosophy far removed from the tight company controls that have prevailed in the past, which is a most fortunate improvement for all concerned.