How does using social media for business affect enterprise architecture (EA)? What steps should enterprise architects take to make EA and social media play well together?
Enterprises are starting to learn that engagement with customers often means connecting via social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. This type of quick access to customers was previously impossible, and it's very important for enterprises to closely monitor the communications going on about them over social media.
Enterprises need to maintain a constant presence within social media sites to make sure their information is made available as quickly as possible. No longer are organizations like the Associated Press the center for finding information about organizations; instead, you'll often find the information available more quickly online.
Social media for business can be abused. Employees of a company can use their personal accounts to send out notifications of company news and events. If people come to trust these individuals to report on their companies, and the employees leave their companies, they still retain the ability to act as company representatives, and can even harm the company image.
Enterprise architects should consider creating role-based social media accounts, such as an announcements account, or even give a generic name to the social media accounts for the company, or departments within the company. They should also not allow individuals to link their personal Twitter accounts to a company site. Instead, enterprise architects should only allow employees to link to company-controlled accounts.
Those in charge of company social media should also consider implementing a solution to manage company social media accounts, taking care not to expose any raw credential information to employees. Some existing services, such as SocialVolt, provide this type of functionality, or a company can choose to build its own social networking connections directly into an existing blog or CMS platform.
Social media for business moves extremely fast, and often the biggest challenge is sifting through the noise. This is an even more challenging problem with Twitter because it is limited to a very small amount of content. It can take a while to narrow down the stream of content enterprise architects should monitor while still making sure not to lose any important details.
Often if a company has a social media strategy that involves using role-based accounts, it can integrate these solutions into ticket-management systems, such as Freshdesk and other tools, to monitor anyone who mentions the company or uses specific keywords that may indicate they are talking about the company.
About the author: Chris Moyer is author of the book Building Applications in the Cloud and creator of two Web frameworks, Marajo and botoweb. He currently lives in New York, where he helps developers migrate applications to the cloud.
Editor's note: This answer is excerpted from an interview with Chris Moyer conducted by Executive Editor Jan Stafford.
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