Jesse Stanchak has an interesting post on the next wave of social media. In short, he thinks it will focus on internal communications, and may not take the form we’re accustomed to.

I think that a lot of organizations miss the boat on internal communications, and this is an interesting idea. But I wonder how I’d feel about actually participating in something along these lines.

There’s definitely great opportunity–as more companies work remotely, there’s a need for ways to link employees who aren’t in the same physical location. Videoconferences can bridge some gaps, but they require a lot of setup. A less formal structure could ease day-to-day interaction and help people share information and get a better feel for each other as colleagues and individuals.

But there’s also the chance for abuse. Stanchek says, “By watching internal social communications between employees, managers can figure out where their workers are spending the most time, where their pain points are and what resources are needed to enhance performance. . . .” That’s a best-case scenario; managers can also become Big Brother, watching employee communications for anything that smacks of disagreement with company policies or practices.

And then there’s the fact that too many places don’t even have viable intranets. Are those organizations really likely to develop useful, functional social networks?

There’s potential in this idea, but I’m not sure how close we are.