Business Process and Social Media : Good bedfellows?

(Hopefully this will be the first of a series of posts regarding the interaction of social media with the world of business process).

Ken Evoy (CEO of has stated that he can't, yet, see a valid business case for using Twitter to promote your business. Or rather he has yet to see a valid case study where someone has successfully built their business using Twitter. Personally I'm not sure that's still the case. Hopefully someone will let me know if there is one out there.

But I want to be a little more parochial now and focus on business process and how the use of social media might help that in some way.

What is social media?
In this context when I am talking social media I am referring to applications on the web which enable social interaction between the great mass of internet users. Typical tools include Plurk, Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook, Myspace etc. They all work on the basis of having a 'pool' of contacts or friends that you interact with on either a one-way or two-way basis. (On Twitter, for instance I follow about 70 people, but I am being followed by 3 dozen. What I try to do is make sure that the people who are following have a wide reach)

So: Business Process
Looking at business process and social media I can see at least 1 major interaction: The inclusion of some sort of social media interaction within a step of a process.

  • Use Twitter, for example to communicate the status of a piece of work
  • Use Friendfeed to review this status (especially using their new 'auto-refresh' functionality)
  • Use Twitpic to send a photograph or scan of a document to someone else for review

However this is effectively using SM as a substitute for Instant Messaging (or similar). In itself this is not using Social Media in the way that can provide the best value: as a mass communication vehicle.

I would be interested in other ways readers might feel that this could work. Is there an example you know where something like this is being done? Are you working on something similar already? What about items such as Facebook? Can that be part of a business process?

What other ways could the worlds of SM and BP interact to add value and reduce complexity?

Next Steps
As I said at the start I would like this to become a series of posts about Social Media and business process therefore if anyone would like to take this theme and post a further entry about their take on SM and BP I would be happy to host that entry here on the Process Cafe as a guest blog. Alternatively if you have similar posts already and want to link into them in the comments, please feel free to do so.

I look forward to an interactive and interesting discussion.

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