Most of the terms needed to understand this book are explained alongside discussions of surrounding concepts; however, there are a few terms that are worth spending a bit more time on to make sure there is a common understanding. At the time of this writing, there is a lot of hype surrounding social media, and I expect it to be high on the agenda in many organizations for a little while longer. But with so many parties using the term, there is often a range of different understandings and definitions.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines social media as:
forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).1
For the purpose of this book, organizational social media should be understood as the collection of tools and processes that support social interaction within any type of private or public organization. Social media tools can come as separate applications (e.g., chat, wikis, social bookmarking, blogs) or in a more integrated networking platform (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr). The term that seems to be catching on when specifically describing networking platforms in organizations is enterprise social network (ESN). Since I will focus on launching those types of platforms, I will use that term accordingly.
A few more words in regards to the term social. Why are these new technologies ...