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Enterprise 2.0 : Niall Cook Demystifies Social Media In The Workplace

Niall Cook, worldwide director of marketing technology at Hill & Knowlton, is the author of Enterprise 2.0 :How social media will change the future of work. He spoke with me about his new book and why social media is now a need-to-know tool for organizations around the world.

Niall Cook says that out of all the extensive coverage of organizations’ use of social media externally, precious little was being discussed on the use of social media internally.
“There was a belief that the more companies used social media, the bigger impact it might begin to have,” he says.  After many seminars on the  social media revolution in the workplace, Enterprise 2.0 was born.

The book is meant to inform and educate companies on the use of corporate social media.  One of his goals, says Cook, was to remove the shadow of the unknown from social media strategies and tactics.   “What’s interesting are companies who have begun to understand it-and they’ve also begun to understand its disruptive nature.  It flattens hierarchy.   It’s very easy to scaremonger and warn about how it’s going to change everything, but it doesn’t help. ”

Enterprise 2.0 gives practical information on social media to help companies make an informed decision on when and how to use it.  “Even if they make an informed decision not to use it, at least it’s an informed decision”, Cook says.   He hopes the book will show the benefits of social media to all companies, admitting there was “a bit of evangelism” involved in writing this book.

The book’s other aims are to help companies isolate social  media tactics they might want to use.  Cook says, for example, that more formal companies might benefit from wikis to create online collaboration.  More casual companies could improve communication via blogs and instant messaging.  “The point is, it’s different for everyone, and companies need to make an informed choice on the tactics they choose.”

Like most in the public relations industry,  Cook believes social media is here to stay, the old lines of communication have been blurred, and it’s in the best interest of companies to get informed on the  new way the world interacts with one another.

“Companies don’t really have a choice anymore,” Cook says. “It’s just sensible for them to start to understand social media a little more.”

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