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Businesses finding value in social networking



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It's no secret that just about every business is trying to make the best of things and stay above water during this tight economy. Now a Utah-based company is trying a new strategy.

Wi5 Connect president and CEO Matt Bowman and his company have taken the concept of social networking to another level -- to the business world -- to help train and educate.

"The new thought with social media is that, yes, it can be a waste of time if you abuse it, but in many regards it's becoming a viable business tool," Bowman said. "The interesting thing, from a business perspective, is that it allows you to be able to collect the brain trust of your staff."

David Bradford is using the Wi5 Connect software for a new business venture that he is starting, called Fusion-io. He says the potential power of social networking is staggering. "When you think about something like Facebook, it started out with a bunch of college students, right? Well, they add 250,000 people a day to Facebook," Bradford said.

Many are in the prime of their careers and are extremely well-connected -- not just to the people in the adjoining office cubical, either. Their contacts are global, which creates incredible opportunities for dialog, education and exchange of business ideas.

"It's actually encouraging: an active online debate between two people that wouldn't normally have an opportunity to meet," Bowman said.

It's out-of-the-box corporate thinking, soon to be more mainstream as many companies retool their business models during this difficult economic time.

Several Utah companies, including Omniture, 1-800-Contacts and Franklin Covey, are using the Wi5 Connect social-networking software in their current business operations.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord

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