You may have noticed some political unrest in various corners of the world recently. While CMSWire is not in the habit of taking sides politically, we do think it’s important to note the role that social media has played. In a recent New York Times article, Mathew Ingram of GigaOm argues that “It’s not Twitter or Facebook, it’s the power of the network” and real-time networked communications.

In his essay, Ingram goes on to cite sociologists and activists about the influence that social media tools can have in spreading the word, be it about political revolutions or pleas for humanitarian aid. While it’s clear that social networking didn’t create political unrest or natural disasters, it is able to facilitate the spreading of news and information in real time, resulting in immediate action and attention.

Real-Time Communications for the Enterprise

When we think of real time communications in terms of the enterprise however, it’s often relegated to emails or voice mails, rather than texts, tweets or status updates. This isn’t to suggest that matters of the enterprise are just as important or significant as political movements or other global events, but rather to encourage companies to capitalize on the impact that social networking can have on productivity, knowledge sharing and innovation.

Over the years, we’ve acknowledged the role that internal social communications can play.

Our consensus suggests that most small to midsize businesses can benefit from using social and collaboration tools for internal purposes. So why is it taking so long? If you were indeed one of the millions of Twitter users following the events unfolding in Tunisia or Egypt, it wasn’t hard to understand the sense of urgency and significance of the information coming through. To be able to harness the power, be it on a much smaller scale, companies can help employees communicate more effectively thus facilitating sharing.

Additionally, social media has demonstrated efficiency in helping organizers plan their protests and other meetups. While companies may not want employees staging a coup, it might prove beneficial for employees organizing brainstorming sessions, mentoring events or business meetings.

Can Social Activism Help the Enterprise Communicate?

Even if companies don’t implement social media tools with the intent of innovating ideas, at the very least, social media can help supplement traditional methods of communications and business planning. Ingram agrees,

…even if Twitter and Facebook are just used to replace the process of stapling pieces of paper to telephone poles and sending out hundreds of emails, they are still a huge benefit to social activism of all kinds.

If one man’s social activism is another’s enterprise management, perhaps there are more lessons to be learned from the power of networked communications.