Someone once asked me what my motivation in getting involved in social computing for business was and I replied that if I had humanized the workplace just a little bit I would be satisfied.
A presentation from Richard Dennison of BT at a BCS event brilliantly conveyed the bottom line business benefits of allowing people to open up and connect using social tools and he reminded me yet again of the absurdity that the workplace ever became somewhere where people had to leave their real selves at home and weren't encouraged to think and engage at an emotional level with their organizations or their work.
I recently watched Lord Levy talking on the television about his career and it was all about people, relationships and conversations and yet some people still express concern about the word social being inappropriate in the boardroom. I don't disagree that it provokes a reaction but to avoid using such language simply out of fear of upsetting someone is disingenuous. What is important about these technologies is social. Not in any political or revolutionary sense but in the sense of being about people and connections between people.
As Richard said last night we are simply getting back something we have lost and I replied by suggesting that we are simply trying to make it easier for something that desparately wants to happen to happen and a lot of the work easing back some of the concerns and fears of what has sadly now become unfamiliar.