Yeah, But What's It's Value?

On a recent trip to the west coast, I met with a bunch of smart and fun folks. Some of these people I've known for a number of years and some I met for the first time. During some small talk, the discussion turned towards social media and whether tools like Twitter, Facebook, etc. were used in their workplace. The answer was usually yes, followed by the question:

But what is the value of using it in the business place?

I was reading Fred Wilson's blog post "What Drives Consumer Adoption of New Technologies" yesterday and the number of comments makes me think we're still in the early stage as a whole of defining the actual value of these new technologies.

In my conversations, there wasn't a single, unified answer but we did all agree that it was a generational thing in attempting to understand the "why". My generation knew the before and knows the current, while earlier generations know only the current. An obvious response, but the only one that was mentioned in most of my conversations.

I posted earlier about the use of Twitter while traveling, and I saw some neat uses of Twitter by folks who operate mobile eateries (my favorite!). Most of the other uses seem to be an extension (and annoyance?) of sales pitches.

By the way, one of the better comments I've seen is Flo Pötscher's response.