A Quick Word on Enterprise Social Media

What are Enterprise Social Media platforms?

These are social media platforms designed for in-office use among employees, like Facebook switched to Work Mode (that exists by the way and it isn’t too popular[1]). Enterprise Social Media tools try to digitize social interactions when people are on the clock. Check out Yammer’s website , the smiles say ‘fun times interacting with my officemates’, but open laptops and notebooks scream ‘I am also getting work done here’.

The platforms can potentially lead to effective knowledge management as a firm can monitor and drive employees interactions, innovative ideas, response times, company morale etc. A good breakdown of knowledge management is provided by HBR: “Knowledge management is what company management tells me I need to know, based on what they think is important. Social media is how my peers show me what they think is important, based on their experience and in a way that I can judge for myself.”[2] Companies like MangoApps believe that enterprise social media leads the way to successful knowledge management, stating in its blog[3] that its product openly centralizes knowledge sharing, un-silos companies and orients new employees at a fast pace.

Some supporters[4] give other valid examples of how this type of social media can allow employees to participate in the decision-making process anonymously without being burdened by a hierarchy. It is also easy to imagine that directors could harness the full potential of all employees equally through in-office crowdsourcing. Lastly, these platforms can increase productivity with features such as group chat engines, note sharing apps, and calendar tools.

However, others are reluctant citing low usage rating over a long period of time. Harvard Business Review shows that[5] these platforms, once installed, are not popular as they have been lacking investment from both employees and leadership, see table below:

These are low numbers in terms of user interest. Chin et al, in her study[6], agrees and adds additional handicaps to the growth of these platforms, namely: a lack of understanding by employees of the benefits, platform and content quality and time commitment issues to learning a new system.

What about the knowledge management?

The Harvard Business Review [2] paints a stark contrast between knowledge management and social media, stating these two cannot co-exist in the same space because they are inherently different in nature: “[Knowledge Management] in practice, reflects a hierarchical view of knowledge to match the hierarchical view of the organization. Yes, knowledge may originate anywhere in the organization, but it is channeled and gathered into a knowledge base (cistern) where it is distributed through a predefined set of channels, processes and protocols.Social media looks downright chaotic by comparison.” It seems these platforms lack popularity because they juxtapose free flowing social interactions with office structures. It is not about their UX, UI or their features. It is about behavioral psychology in the workplace.

In conclusion, as social platforms age in dog years and enterprise social media has been around for half a decade with little progress, maybe there is not much hope for it. Also, do not forget that 54%[7] of companies ban Facebook and Twitter as senior management believe that all social media hurts more than builds productivity during the workday.


[1] Growing Social Media.com. “Will Facebook Work Mode Ever Take Off”. Accessed May 1, 2016. http://growingsocialmedia.com/will-facebook-work-mode-ever-take-off/

[2] Harvard Business Review. “Social Media Versus Knowledge Management”. Access on May 1st, 2016. https://hbr.org/2011/10/social-media-versus-knowledge/

[3] TechTarget.com. “Enterprise Social Media and Collaboration”. Accessed on May 1st, 2016. http://searchcontentmanagement.techtarget.com/guides/Enterprise-social-media-and-collaboration-management-guide

[4] MangaApps Blog. “Knowledge is an infinite resource you achieve through collaboration”. Access on May 1, 2016. https://blog.mangoapps.com/knowledge-management/

[5] Harvard Business Review. “Why No One Uses the Corporate Social Network.” Access May 1st, 2016. https://hbr.org/2015/04/why-no-one-uses-the-corporate-social-network

[6]Semantics Scholar. “What Influences Employees to Use Enterprise Social Networks? A Socio-Technical Perspective”. Accessed May 1st, 2016. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f2f3/abb477750d485c6f4f298824f8388da7cc58.pdf

[7] Wired. “Study: 54 Percent of Companies Ban Facebook and Twitter at Work”. Accessed May 1st, 2016. http://www.wired.com/2009/10/study-54-of-companies-ban-facebook-twitter-at-work/

Posted: at 11:20 PM EST


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