Social Computing and Networking: Business Tool or Consumer Fad?

January 31, 2008
8:30am – 10:30am

Social networking at the most basic level is about making and using connections among people. The technologies related to social computing and networking such as MySpace, Facebook, Digg, collaborative wikis, interactive blogs, and even Second Life are now an established part of the consumer consciousness. Concepts such as flatness, openness, peer recommendation, interactive, global integration, and innovation enablement are linked to social networking by many observers. Yet, the business value and impact of these concepts and associated technologies is unclear. Does it really make sense to change a well managed traditional organization by replacing hierarchical controls with flat, open, interactive technologies? Or do traditional organizations already operate through an informal social network and the question is more about how you further leverage and enable. Do you as a manager really want every employee to interact with you and know everything about you and everybody else in the firm? Will innovation really result from these concepts or will it lead to a cacophony of discordant voices? Should you change your marketing strategy so that the future focus for example is placing viral videos on MySpace or YouTube? Should you conduct your next recruiting fair in Second Life? Will your new hires think, interact, and function in totally different ways? Are there new markets and opportunities that are enabled and accessed by these concepts and technologies? In this panel discussion we will explore the current state of social networking and discuss its business implications.


  • Dominic Boffa, VP and CIO, Aramark Higher Education
  • Joan Morris DiMicco, Research Scientist, IBM
  • Annie Heckenberger, Social Media Director, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation
  • Chris Kearns, Manager, Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services
  • Colleen McMahon, Director, GlaxoSmithKline


  • Munir Mandviwalla, Executive Director, Institute for Business and Information Technology

Lockheed MartinGSK