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Abstract

Social computing, enabled by the Internet and peer-to-peer computing (P2P), is a force to be reckoned with. Today, most observers believe that the changes we’ve seen in some industries, like entertainment, is just the tip of a huge iceberg that is going to hit many different sectors. The power of social computing to disrupt the traditional business-to-customer relationship is merely one of several changes we are beginning to see in organizations. Social computing also facilitates new ways of working, learning and collaboration, which are foreign to more conventional practices but which have considerable strategic potential if they are effectively managed. Yet currently, organizations in general do not appreciate its value and strategic potential.

Social computing’s promise is that technology will fit more naturally into our lives because it will adapt more readily to our locations, preferences and schedules. The challenge for organizations is to understand how to use it effectively to deliver new forms of business value. It’s easy to dismiss social computing as “just another technology fad” and most companies are approaching it very cautiously. The reality is that social computing is already a factor in organizations today even though we are still early in its evolution.

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