Social Media Week hits Paris

This evening I’ll be taking part in a round table on the role of Social Media in companies as part of Social Media Week in Paris. The global event in its 3rd successful year has a mission to:

explore how local and regional societies, cultures, and economies are becoming more integrated & empowered through a global network of communication.

The title of the round table is “Social Media in Corporations : Empowerment or Surveillance.” Now, while I understand that events need this type of title to create the debate, my experience within Gemalto and through speaking to many other companies is that this is an argument that was relevant a couple of years ago. In 2012, even the most traditional CEOs have woken up to the potential of social media, even if they’re still working out what to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the event and in particular seeing what my co-speakers, in particular Yann Gourvennec from Orange and Nicholas Vieuxloup of Viadeo have to say about the role of social media within a blue-chip company and from a human resource/recruitment point of view. But, I think we’re past the stage where enterprises can ignore or block the rising influence of social media on the way we work.

In general, 2011 represented a sea change within personal and corporate use of social channels with 10,000 tweets per second being sent during the recent superbowl while digital marketing and social media investments by companies are up even in an economic downturn. This evening I’ll be giving Gemalto’s view on social media use and if you tune in to the livestream you’ll be able to see that we’re definitely on the “empowering” side of the fence. Of course you need guidelines and policies in place but the business potential for all of your employees is massive, whether it be debugging some code in a forum, doing product support in LinkedIn or following your top 10 customers on Twitter.

If you’re interested in seeing how we developed our social media strategy within Gemalto, read my recent post on Econsultancy’s blog. And, if you can tear yourself away from tonight’s episodes of Coronation Street, Plus Belle la Vie or España Directo then you can follow the debate on the web or follow #smwparis and #iabcfr on Twitter and see whether empowerment or surveillance prevails.

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