I want to open this post by making a very key point: my strategy for 'social media' only makes sense in the broader context of it as part of my three pillars approach to an organizations operational process and functionality, and that the organization is viewed as a living system operating in an environment of other living systems.
For our purpose here, "living systems" is defined as any and all formal and informal forms of social organization. Economic activity is the result of all "living systems" and individuals pursuit of resources required to maintain life.
If we embrace the idea of systems thinking (how else, I'd ask, would we think of a world that is comprised of a complex networked web of systems??) as how we think of and look at our organization, and we embrace the idea that our organization should be and is a learning organization, then what the internet and social media give us is an amazingly vast set of ways and tools to be a highly adaptive and trusted organization in today's highly dynamic and ever changing world.
One of the most obvious uses is internal social networking. Your organization has an enormous amount of untapped information, knowledge and intelligence than your organization is currently using. A stratified organizational hierarchy is a real damper on motivation and the inherent talent within your organization. Internal social networking can flatten that. If management and executive are threatened by that--get over it. Either they are insecure, incompetent or both. If internal social networking sniffs these sorts of bureaucratic deadweights out, be grateful. They are doing nothing but sapping team spirit and your bottom line. Skilled, competent management and executives can and will use the extra resources to do their jobs better, more productively, more intelligently with greater confidence and decision success rate than before. This exists within your organization--unleash it.
Organizations themselves are inherently complex, nobody can know everything there is to know about it and it's functionality--including you. For that matter, odds are you have an ignorance about a lot about your organization.
A comprehensive list of the array of networking tools available is beyond the scope of this post, but it's quite likely they might exist already within your organization and are being under utilized.
Externally, the dynamics of networking increase exponentially. The list of examples of companies and organizations that have tapped into and connected with their customer base, supply webs, and the randomness of network connections is legion. Your organization may already be tapped into it.
Developing the full potential of your organization using techniques and tools enabled by the internet and social media take courage, vision, and a change of leadership style. In today's socio-economic climate, this isn't an idle choice, it's becoming a necessity.
Why? Because the environment in which your organization operates is morphing daily. To grasp it, it takes things like a distributed intelligence to better comprehend it. That intelligence lies both internally and externally to your organization. If you are developing strategic paths without at least an awareness of what that intelligence has to offer, you are missing pieces of the picture. You are flying blind into an increasingly complex future.
Leading organizations that want to be the winners of today and tomorrow understand this.