Apr 11, 2011

Social Objects as the fulcrum for a community

The term "Social Objects" was created by Jyri Engeström of microblogging startup Jaiku.  He defined it as the object that gets shared in the Web 2.0 world. For Flickr it is photographs, for Delicious it was bookmarks, for MySpace it was music. But in the age of Twitter and Facebook, what are their social objects.

Personally I (and my ex-colleagues at 2020 Social) defined a social object as not so much as an "object" but a shared passion, lifestyle, practice or cause. So for example, my HR professionals network has "knowledge of HR" as the shared object.

The implications for enterprise social networking are clear. Organizations have to realise that they have to build communities to enable higher employee to employee connection and engagement.

Think of social objects as the bonfire around which members of a physical community congregate. They might know some people there, but they all need the warmth of the bonfire.

The social object of a virtual community is the equivalent of the real bonfire, drawing people, encouraging them to connect and share with each other.

More thoughts on how we can light the spark in an internal employee community in forthcoming posts