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Tibbr: grown up social media?

Has social media grown up? I got that distinct impression this morning at the European launch of Tibbr at Delphina in London’s trendy Bermondsey High Street. It’s grown up because its targeted at large corporates (who have traditionally been the biggest sceptics), is design to improve productivity and has been developed by ‘middleware’ vendor Tibco. For the uninitiated, middleware is the really, really unsexy bit about corporate technology – it’s the glue that sticks the front end systems to the back end. The fact that Tibco is now a player in social media speaks volumes about how much social media has matured.

As launch events went, it was a very good one, featuring a product test drive and client testimonial (admittedly for a product which only went live last month) and a panel debate about the whether large corporates can ever truly be ‘social’.

Despite the best efforts of panelist and celebrated technology cynic Denis Howlett, I came away excited about the potential of enterprise social media to transform intra-organisation communication. Tibbr’s marketing slogan is ‘now the information finds you’ and the platform allows individuals to following individuals and topics from both internal and external steams to stay up to improve productivity and keep informed. Tibco claims that they will need to send fewer emails and be relieved of the burden of managing multiple technology platforms or information portals.

Of course, it’s all very exciting in productivity terms, but what’s the relevance to marketing, I hear you ask? Well firstly, putting social media at the centre of the organisation makes the organisation itself more reliant on marketing’s key skillset: communication. And as the department that understands social media best (which it should) marketers will be well-placed to leverage this technology to demonstrate their knowledge and effectiveness.

Just as importantly, if social media becomes recognised as a key tool by the executive board, and inputs from the likes of Facebook and Twitter are no  longer regarded with suspicion, it will become a much more effective marketing platform. In other words, its true potential will be unleashed.

Clearly, universal adoption of such platforms is a long way off, but it’s coming, make no mistake.