Despite an increasing popularity, the impact and benefits of corporate social computing remain unclear. This paper aims at rigorously studying social computing tools as a new class of technology and provides a holistic definition and characterization. After a comprehensive literature review, we empirically explored the defining attributes and underlying dimensions of social computing as a whole using the multidimensional scaling (MDS) methodology. The study found that 13 representative exemplar tools differ over three dimensions: (i) their ability to support social interactions, social relations, and communities, (ii) their hedonic versus utilitarian focus, and (iii) their ability to support convergence versus conveyance of generated content. A Property Fitting (ProFit) study confirmed the interpretation of the dimensions. This provided a better understanding of this technology and allowed us to better theorize about the expected benefits and impacts of social computing on organizations, to offer guidelines for adoption and provide suggestions for future research.