20 Oct

What is social business?

Thank you “Eddyjquinn” for your historical alternative and the “Bjorkman and kock, 1995”. I will add to your historical development of “social business”, and especially to emphasise that although it is a new development but it has been an old commercial practice for businesses to explore and exploit social forums. The only difference is that instead of business exploiting the physical presence of people in a free cinema show or a novelty football match, the same strategy has been brought in to create free internet or electronic forums and exploit them for business interests. Therefore commercialisation of physical communities has transformed to a digital society.

I have read some definition of social business which highlighted its attributes and benefits ( see blog irishtechylad and blackbird333), however, I am curious for a fundamental meaning of this subject matter. I am therefore revisiting the question from a clinical perspective, somehow looking at instances of social business such as “facebook business” or “Google business”, this time not as media.

Social business as defined by professor Mohammed Yunus, as “a non loss non dividend company designed to address a social objective…” ( http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/08-103). This definition seems to address the subject matter of Social business from a traditional perspective thereby reflecting the meaning of social business as a voluntary enterprise or a charitable organisation. This traditional model of social business has existed and still continues to exist. Therefore government or individuals may organise social enterprises to alleviate poverty and to promote welfare and charity among the people as exemplified in the Constitution of Ireland, “BUNREACH NA hEIREANN”, under “The Directive Principles of Social Policy”, which is found in “Article 45″. Also the European Union has a “Social Business Initiative”, (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/social_business/index_en.htm#maincontentSec3),  which is designed to serve the interest of the community rather than maximisation of profit. At present this model of social business is different from its contemporary usage which seems to reflect a capitalisation and commercialisation of internet social forums and digital communities.

 The word social has undergone a transformation, taking up a new and broader meaning and in relation to the new social communities established on the internet. Although social business at present is a burgeoning enterprise, it seems there are few academic literature  on this subject matter, perhaps it is a new commercial coinage.

 Blackbird333 blog refers to “socialbusinessforums.com”, 2012, emphasising that social business is a new development. Also a definition was taken by le1008, (Sideraworks.com, Defining Social Business), where social business was defined with emphasis on “the optimisation of an organisation to benefit its stakeholders, by embedding, collaboration, information sharing, and active engagements into its operations and culture”. I have read through the article and the attributes of social business are highlighted as “Adaptability, Empowerment, Agility, Smart Connectivity, Openness, and Active intelligence”. These attributes are explained in this paper however the explanations did not add up to answer the question, what is social business, or rather clinically speaking, what is “Google” business, or what is “Facebook” business?

 I think the question trickles down to the meaning of “Social” and “Business”, in a contemporary world. Also it has to do certain attributes which point to electronic communities or digital forums. While the electronic communities enjoy free services of the digital media, businesses explore and exploit their presence. This is similar to the old scenario of inviting  crowd of people by staging a free cinema show, or a novelty football match and exploiting the crowd for business sales and advertising. Exploitation of football forum and cinema show by businesses is not new, it has now shifted to the electronic forums of the digital media. Therefore I am looking for words such as exploitation of the social media, business using social forums, exploiting the social community of the internet, i.e it has to do with the congregation of free and open digital communities and its commercialisation of the economic synergy by businesses for value creation. I am attracted to this approach and to proceed further from here.

Thank you.

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