Approximately $1 trillion in yearly value across the commercial value chain could be created by social technologies according to a July 2012 McKinsey Global Institute analysisi. Believe that? No, we did not think so. The report finds that two-thirds of the potential value can be found in improving collaboration. Within the Oil and Gas industry, we have been chasing and improving on cross-functional collaboration for the past two decades. And, whatever the actual value generation number is associated with social networking technologies, we believe that greater levels of and more timely collaboration can only have a positive impact on production, increased efficiency and more reliable operations.

This paper will take a work process view of production operations and consider where, when and how social networking technologies can be a benefit. But a quick and limited Twitter-type of response has its drawback, which also needs to be considered and explored. We will consider what is and is not a beneficial social network and what constitutes a value- adding social network response.

The purpose of this paper is to cut through the hype and focus on where, when and how social networking technologies can and will increase production and improve safe and reliable operations. While we do not have a yearly dollar estimate associated with value creation, the same McKinsey Global Institute analysis stated: "Most importantly, we find that social technologies, when used within and across enterprises, have the potential to raise the productivity of the high-skill knowledge workers that are critical to performance and growth in the 21st century by 20 to 25 percent." which we think is a worthy goal regardless of the actual dollar amount.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.