The term “socialprise” will turn four months old next Friday, July 18th. That’s not counting a roughly three month gestation period from its conception (a white boarding session with our CMO Rand Schulman in December ’07) to its birth (the launch of our SalesView product in March ’08). Rand was describing the convergence of social media and enterprise applications to me when I half-jokingly uttered the term “socialprise” as a verbal short-cut for this complex phenomenon we were sketching out. The word had a nice feel to it and we soon found that it was helping us crystallize our thoughts around a whole new category of sales applications.

A recent post by BRASSmedia expressed hope that the term socialprise would one day grow beyond the initial definition put forth by InsideView. It turns out the future already arrived months prior. Within just a few days of introducing the term back on March 18th, I saw “socialprise” used all over the place to describe everything from enterprise applications to cloud computing to social platforms to organizational behavior to new forms of customer interaction to oh-so-many variations on Enterprise 2.0. Apparently our catchy new business term had been on the tip of many tongues and was now seen as the most succinct embodiment of various ideas, frameworks, and phenomena.

It was equally interesting to witness just how viral language has become thanks to social media. (No doubt this could make an interesting doctoral thesis for some hapless etymology/epidemiology scholar somewhere!) Google seemed like a good place to start for a quick and dirty way to quantify the “infection rate” of our new term. Within days of introducing the word, a Google search for “socialprise” went from zero hits to dozens of results (and that’s not counting our own press releases, white papers, and 3rd party blog postings written about InsideView.) Now a little more than three months later, Google brings back 22,500+ results. (By the time you read this blog post, it will probably have grown – check for yourself!) By my rather unscientific measure, that means the term “socialprise” is growing even faster than other widely beloved new business terms “freemium” (78,900 results after 16 months in the public, and that’s after a WIRED cover story and a Charlie Rose interview) and sales 2.0 (106,000 results).

Now that the term “socialprise” has given voice to so many different ideas, let’s travel way back in time (as measured by Google hits vs. calendar days) to look at the original definition put forth in March…

Socialprise applications are a natural convergence of social media and enterprise applications, and emerge as a mash-up of both the information and user experience of these previously separate universes. Socialprise applications enable organizations to discover and distill highly relevant information from an expanding sea of structured and unstructured data sources and present it in the meaningful context of specific business processes.

Like wines and fashion, you never now how words are going to age. OK, so it’s only been 3+ months but so far I’m pretty happy with how well our initial attempt to describe the phenomenon and emerging category of “socialprise” applications is holding up. Of course only time will tell whether our definition wears more like a classic Armani tuxedo or a cheap pair of polyester bell bottoms when we dust it off years from now. In the meantime, we’ve surrendered to the wisdom and whims of the masses – the living, breathing definition of “socialprise” will continue to be shaped on wikipedia and the media (erm, which is now everyone.)

Of all the uses I’ve seen for “socialprise” it seems to most frequently be compared to, and thus confused with, Enterprise 2.0. Several posts have even speculated on the potential for socialprise replacing the more widely known and accepted term “Enterprise 2.0”. I have to admit that was never my intention and that we even contemplated jumping on the Enterprise 2.0 bandwagon (or the 3.0 for that matter) when we first examined our platform strategy. But we quickly realized that we were attempting to define an entirely different phenomenon and new class of application. For me “socialprise” means a mash-up of data from both OUTSIDE and INSIDE the organization – i.e. the convergence of social media (outside) and enterprise applications (inside). Meanwhile, the most widely accepted definitions of Enterprise 2.0 are focused on the use of consumer-oriented Web 2.0 tools behind the firewall. In other words, Enterprise 2.0 describes the use of tools like wikis, blogs, social tagging, crowd sourcing, and social networking INSIDE an organization only. The resulting data set lives in various silos within the organization rather than becoming part of (and interacting with) the cloud OUTSIDE of the organization.

A concrete example might be social networking tools being implemented behind the firewall to enable collaboration between employees of a given organization. That is Enterprise 2.0. Now let’s say we have a solution that allows you to integrate social networking functionality from the cloud (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) directly within an existing enterprise application like Outlook (hmm, sounds like Xobni) or your CRM (and that sounds like SalesView). It is a mash-up of the data (i.e. contacts, profiles, etc) and the user experience from both INSIDE and OUTSIDE of the organization. That is socialprise.

OK, so this is just my definition of socialprise. What’s yours?