What is Social Collaboration?

On the Web, where all things have become social - social media, social networking, social bookmarking, etc. - it is important to bring attention to another entrant in the social movement: social collaboration. But first we must address the meaning of the term ‘social’ and dispel any confusion about how it’s applied to the Web today.

Understanding the term Social

Due to its online origin, for many, the term social has been particularly confusing when it precedes the word ‘networking.’ Although the term ‘social networks’ existed long before the advent of the Web, it was only popularized once it was used to describe rapidly growing, socially-oriented online communities such as Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, etc. Social networking then quickly evolved to include more professionally-oriented communities like LinkedIn, Xing and others.

From this evolution, the term social began to represent a movement toward openness and the communal aspect of the Web. As a result, the word ‘social,’ as it relates to the Web today, does not mean social, or socializing, as we usually think of it. Rather, it means 'community,' as in the greater Internet community and the groups among it.

So, in following with this new definition, social media translates to community media, or community generated/shared media; social networking means community networking; and social bookmarking (sites like Digg, Delicious and others) is really community bookmarking, etc. You get the picture.

Introducing Social Collaboration

So where and how does social collaboration fit into the landscape of all things social? More importantly, how does it differ from social networks, wikis and other forms of community and collaboration?

Social collaboration can be described, but is further defined by three import characteristics:

#1: Social collaboration is not just community or collaboration; it is the blending of community and collaboration.

#2: Social collaboration is centered around groups; groups provide the context. So, social collaboration does not revolve around an individual’s friend list or contact Rolodex (like with social networks).

#3: Social collaboration can only happen within a system of integrated communication, sharing and networking. Remove one component from the system, and social collaboration loses its true value.

Social collaboration is important because it mimics how groups ‘make things happen’ offline. When a group of people with common goals are in a room together, communicating, sharing and networking happen naturally. As a result, when meeting face-to-face, groups are able to 'make things happen' with relative ease. But, prior to social collaboration, in order to communicate, share and network online, groups had to use listservs for communicating (i.e., Yahoo! Groups); collaboration software for sharing (i.e., Microsoft SharePoint); and social networks for networking (i.e., Facebook or LinkedIn). As a result, groups were relegated to using several tools and/or destinations in their attempt to gain the level the collaboration and community that social collaboration easily provides today.

Introducing Groupsite.com

Groupsite.com is a multi-purpose social collaboration platform, uncluttered with needless distractions, focused specifically on empowering groups of all types and sizes to make things happen. Groupsites bring together only the most useful features of listservs, collaboration software and social networks into a system (i.e., collaboration community) that empower groups to easily communicate, share and network.

What is Social Collaboration

Through this focus, Groupsite.com has pioneered social collaboration and currently powers (as of September 2009) 30,000+ collaboration communities.
* More than 10,000 non-profit organizations are using Groupsites to drive membership engagement.
* More than three quarters of all Groupsites are private, rather than public networks.
* Groupsites are powering more than 5,000 company intranets and project workgroups.
* More than 600 large events, conferences and tradeshows rely on Groupsites.
* Groupsites have been created for more than 6,000 membership groups, more than 5,800 social networks and more than 1,000 alumni groups.

Basic Groupsites are FREE and can be created in under 2 minutes. Make your group happen now.