Are you social?

Veröffentlicht: April 16, 2012 von Ms. Monday Jana in Know How
Schlagwörter:, , ,


When I read Jan’s comment on my last week’s post and also his article „Social Business – oder doch nur Betrug?„, I could not stop thinking about the actual meaning of being „social“ nowadays. Obviously, people do have a differing opinion of what is social and what is not social. And there are some people tho whom „being social“ is really important and some who care less about it. Still, I feel that this word has become so important, yes, I have the feeling that I can not avoid it at all. That is fine since being social means being a good person, right? But is there any way to measure whether someone is behaving in a social way or not? Doesn’t this depend completely on my personal judgement?

To become a little more clear about this, I checked out the common definition for „social“. I would just like to mention one of the defintions I found online, they were mainly quite similar:

so·cial  (sshl)



a. Living together in communities.
b. Of or relating to communal living.
c. Of or relating to human society and its modes of organization: social classes; social problems; a social issue.
2. Living together in organized groups or similar close aggregates: Ants are social insects.
3. Involving allies or members of a confederacy.
4. Of or relating to the upper classes.

a. Inclined to seek out or enjoy the company of others; sociable.
b. Spent in or marked by friendly relations or companionship.
c. Intended for convivial activities.
6. Of, relating to, or occupied with matters affecting human welfare: social programs.


An informal social gathering, as of the members of a church congregation.

I was a little surprised when I read this. Of course, being social is also about interacting with others. But to me, a basic part was missing: The part were being social stands in the same line with being a good human being / doing something good for the society or the environment. Isn’t this communicated to us every day?
Nevertheless, I found an interesting paragraph on Wikipedia:

In the absence of agreement about its meaning, the term „social“ is used in many different senses and regarded as a fuzzy concept, referring among other things to:

Attitudes, orientations, or behaviors which take the interests, intentions, or needs of other people into account (in contrast to anti-social behaviour) has played some role in defining the idea or the principle. For instance terms like social realism, social justice, social constructivism, social psychology and social capital imply that there is some social process involved or considered, a process that is not there in regular, „non-social“ realism, justice, constructivism, psychology, or capital.

Alright, people say that Wikipedia should not be used a source because it is not reliable. I liked the description though and it comes more close to the idea I had. To me, the term „social“ has to be somehow related to doing something with a good purpose (e.g. improving society, preserving nature etc.). Otherwise, how would you define a „Social Entrepreneurship“? If „social“ would only refer to the interaction among people, would you say that social media platforms like Facebook can also be called „Social Entrepreneurships“? In my opinion, to „be social“ means to consider the effect of my personal actions on others before acting, as it is also mentioned on Wikipedia. Taking part in social welfare of any kind would then mean the next step to me – when doing so, I am not only taking actions in a considerate way. I am also doing something to help other people so that they get the chance to fulfill their needs or solve their problems.
However, as I mentioned before, the perspective on what is social and what is not social varies a lot. Therefore, to me, not everything which is called „social“ can actually be considered as „social“. So before becoming a „Social Entrepreneur“, I think it is very important to make up your mind about what „social“ really means to you and whether this is an opinion which other people share with you.
    • Luise sagt:

      I think you have made a really good point. I like your critical way in which you are looking at the whole topic. Everybody uses the word „social“ but nobody really defines it. I also thought about it and I thing a „social-fact“ can mean a lot, but of course we should always clarify if there is a real „socal-fact“ in the project or if it is just part of a maketing strategy of a copmpany who takes advantage of it.

  1. Bruce Spear sagt:

    This is just great, Jan, MANY thanks!

    You might Google „hire for attitude, train for skill,“ and look especially for article like, … look for conversations where businesses are defining „social“ in terms of creativity, innovation, productivity, group dynamics, change ….

    That is, I think definitions are an excellent start (though I would recommend an action-oriented dictionary, like, but ultimately what you are looking for are people you can work with or for in business, right?

    So, what are the „social“ dimensions or qualities that entrepreneurs are looking for, and how, practically speaking, do they do this in the workplace: what examples might you find that you might actually „operationalize“ in your HWR working groups in the next weeks?

    It’s just great to see this post, I hope my comment helps!

  2. Mr. Friday Jan sagt:

    Mr. Spear, just to make sure, this excellent post was written by Jana – it’s not mine 😉

    And Jana, thank you so much for writing about this topic in more details – „it is very important to make up your mind about what “social” really means“ is an excellent conclusion!

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  4. Ms. Monday Jana sagt:

    Thank you for the great feedback!

    Mr. Spear thank you also for the inspiring links. On the website mentioned by you, I found an article about the convergence of Technology Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship into one solution ( It also deals with the problems going along with this process. Especially one sentence caught my eye: „While the Social Entrepreneurship community is full of well-intentioned people, many of their solutions fail to take into account the complexities of the problems they are attempting to solve, which can lead to doing more harm than good“. This is a backfiring effect which should also be taken into account, especially when founding businesses which are operated online.
    The website clearly lines out that Entrepreneurships are going through a transformation which is of great impact, e.g. the so-called „hire for attitude“ philosophy ( A very different approach to human resources and recruiting.
    This was interesting to read and an approach I have not thought of yet.

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