I’ve been thinking for a while that we need to move away from discussions of how to categorize new technology and practices, and move toward discussions of what those technologies and practices enable.
So, for example, is Twitter social media or social CRM? I don’t really care.* What i do care about is how Twitter and the practices that have grown up around it (hashtags, following, re-tweeting) enable different sorts of social interactions between people inside and outside of organizations than do other media.
Is the use of a wiki enterprise 2.0 or social business? I don’t really care about this either. What i do care about is how wikis and the practices that have grown up around them (collaborative editing, tagging) enable different ways of getting things done.
What do you think?
* To be fair, whether or not i care has to do with which disciplinary hat i am wearing at the time. One hat is the hat of a practitioner, who cares mainly about the outcomes of using a technology. When i’m wearing this hat, i don’t care about the categories. If you call a technology gobbledeglook, but it achieves a good overall outcome, the practitioner in me is satisfied. The second hat is the hat of an academic, whose job it is to think deeply about the categories and the effects that those might have on the outcomes. If you use the word media when i’m wearing this hat, i’m back looking at the etymology of the word and reams of media theory and the philosophy of technology before you can shake a mobile phone at me.