In most blogs posts, I have been constantly trying to address and better understand myself, how the “social” aspect is playing a key role in the way technologies of the future are shaping. It always did and will continue to excite me the way the social constructs influence the businesses. I have mainly covered the non-technology aspects of enterprise2.0 in most of my recent posts, however in this post I will cover a couple of the technology features that probably touch upon the human element of enterprise2.0.
There are a lot of triggers which have led me to think on these lines; one of them being a simple question that people ask – “why do we need a picture with our profile” or “what’s the big deal about thumbnails against each of our messages on various platforms like Faceebok, Twitter, or Yammer?” Well essentially what happens when you continuously start seeing the picture of a person you are interacting with is that, we as humans start registering it in our heads and soon start associating all things that come along with that photo. If one has built his credibility around a subject, we no longer really see the person’s name when we see his/her post/message, however if I were to see the same set of messages without those photos, the chances of me associating the various names will be considerably difficult. Try seeing a activity stream from Facebook, Twitter or Yammer without the photos and you will know what I mean. The photos obviously can go on further to help you when and if you happen to meet them in-person; but even an avatar of sorts can help in building the person’s identity!
Another simple thing that really fascinates me is the very widely used (& probably abused) “like” button on most of the social platforms these days (Facebook, Yammer, FriendFeed etc). To the eye or from a technology standpoint it’s probably a simple thing, but just imagine the power this simple feature brings. Like I have said earlier, when dealing with humans one must address aspects like emotions & expressions and this “like” feature absolutely does that. Just a simple click (on the like button) sometimes conveys so much and in most cases can go a long way in building strong relationships amongst community members. These are the kind of features that really communicate the sentiments of people; also not always that people want to reply to a message saying “I like this document or idea or news” etc. There have been various similar features in the past too, like a “thumbs-up/down” icon for example. Such features when further explored can lead to detailed analytics and in social network analysis, understanding the crux of the network; further assisting in understanding the character & spirit that prevails in a community.
Having said all of the above, we definitely need the right kind of coaching and literacy for people to understand and start using these tools, but (I think) simple technology features like these are what matter when we talk about going the social technology way!
P.S.: I am hoping to get some critical discussions around this post! 🙂

Nikhil Nulkar is a knowledge management consultant within Capgemini and is passionate about web2.0, specifically in enterprise2.0 & social media. Want to know what he is up to? Follow him on Twitter