Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Social Application?

Chances Are You're Not, and Here's Why

By Published on .

Josh Bernoff
Josh Bernoff
It used to be that just launching a social application made you a marketing leader. Now everybody's doing it.

Some people just run campaigns. Doritos' Super Bowl ads are a great example. So are little applications like Mad Men Yourself, where you can make your own icon to represent yourself as a "Mad Men" character. These are great, but they don't really change companies. They also don't challenge the organization -- they get launched, they run, and even if they last, the marketer doesn't change.

But we increasingly run into organizations that have multiple social applications running. Take Dell, where there are internal and external initiatives on everything from communities to Twitter. Or Intuit, where the TurboTax help function is actually a community, and other communities of "experts" advise the company on directions to take the software.

In some sense, we're all going where Dell and Inuit are. There are going to be more social applications in the future, not fewer. Companies are going to need to manage them. And the organizational model isn't obvious -- letting everybody do their thing is chaotic, but managing it all centrally may squash the creativity out of people.

What we need is a maturity model for organizations building or using social applications. And we'd like your help to create it.

We're interested in how this works at your company. We'd like to hear from anyone involved in social applications -- marketers, sure, but also PR, IT, legal, finance, HR and so on. Here's the link to our survey. Why not take it? We'll share a summary of the results with everyone who takes it, and we'll share the top-line results right here.

Note: This isn't really designed for vendors, agencies, consultants or regular consumers -- we're looking for people who work on on social technologies within companies. So if you're somebody like that, why not just comment on the post right here, or you can join our community for further discussion.

Josh Bernoff is co-author of "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies," a comprehensive analysis of corporate strategy for dealing with social technologies such as blogs, social networks and wikis, and is a VP-principal analyst at Forrester Research. He blogs at
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