Before the term social network was even coined, there was MySpace. Then, Facebook became known as the social network. Now that there are websites like Facebook, the definition has expanded to include Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and a plethora of others around the net. Defining exactly what a social network is has become a lot more challenging.
A social network is any service that allows people to share content with friends, family, or the general public. That sounds a lot like the Internet in broad strokes. The type of content around which popular social networks have been built include the following:
- Long form (Medium)
- Short form (Tumblr)
- Status updates, links, and memes (Facebook)
- Pithy thoughts and news blasts (Twitter)
- Pictures with filters (Instagram)
- Ephemeral picture messaging (Snapchat)
- Music (MySpace)
- Team messaging (Slack)
That is not an exhaustive list. Business messaging is a fairly new category that has seen a number of new entrants. It is an idea in its early stages, but is destined to become one of the more prominent forms of social networking. If your businesses communications have not yet gone social, here are 5 reasons why they should:
1. Secure Enough for Business
Too many times, company information leaks through the grapevine of handwritten memos, overheard bits of conversation, and insecure messaging systems. You wouldn’t want to trust your sensitive business communications to an insecure Facebook group. For business, there is secure instant messaging private enough for some of the largest workgroups in the world from Xerox, to Oregon.gov, to Harvard university, to IBM, and more.
Human nature trumps corporate rules every time. People working together on teams are going to talk to each other. That’s exactly what you want them to do. Just make sure they have the most secure way to do it.
2. Workers Are Already Comfortable with Chat
The first generation of tech workers are comfortable with email. In fact, many of them are not comfortable with anything else. But we are well past the first generation of tech workers. The people being hired today are very uncomfortable with email, and far prefer chat and instant messaging modes of communication.
By 2018, instant messaging is expected to represent 75% of all mobile messaging. Chat is not a fad, but a reality that will become even more prevalent in the near future. It is what your employees are already comfortable with. Moving to a business chat system now will ensure that you are ready for the workers you are about to hire.
3. Moving at the Speed of Chat
How long does it take you to write an email worth reading? By the time you compose the subject line, you could have completed and sent your message to the intended recipient. It takes longer to read this paragraph than it does to express important ideas using instant messaging. Really, it’s in the name.
4. Teams Can Be Social Without Leaving Work
Remember human nature? Great teams are not only going to talk about work, they are going to be social whether they are in-house or remote. They are going to talk about their favorite app, TV show, and all the things they used to talk about around the water cooler and at the bar. But to do that, they had to leave their station. Team chat allows them to blow off steam without actually leaving their desk. That is a win for everyone.
5. Great Ideas Are the Product of Open Communication
You have great ideas. But before they can truly blossom, they need to be bounced off of teammates who might be able to spot the holes, and smooth out the rough edges. This process of give no take is necessary. Often, great ideas are born out of mundane chatter. Instant messaging provides the infrastructure for that idea-generating chatter. It allows teams to be social without leaving work. It makes for faster communication. It requires no training. And it is secure enough for top enterprise-level companies around the world.