ME2: Social Features or Social Network?

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Social Features or Social Network?

A distinction I think that will become more and more important in the next 12-18 months will be clarifying to business decision-makers the difference between software that has social features and software that is an effective social network. We are starting to see more and more announcements from major enterprise application providers that they are introducing one or more of the following basic social features within their platforms, using the Enterprise 2.0 moniker along the way:

  • User Profile / Expertise Search
  • User web publishing (blog / wiki / file sharing / link sharing)
  • Commenting on content
  • Rating / Recommending content
  • RSS feeds
  • Status Updates / Micro-sharing
  • Tagging / Tag Clouds
  • Bookmarking

Until this market shakes out a little more, this could lead to confusion among those only partially paying attention to conclude “I have this enterprise platform with blogs, tagging and tag clouds, thus I don’t need to invest in any other capabilities touted as a social network.” The business case WE then have to make is not about what the specific capabilities are or are not in varying platforms, but if our enterprise environment has anything that is capable / effective at helping cross-silo collaboration communities grow virtually and thrive? Without the following complementary capabilities to go along with the above list of social features, in my opinion, your enterprise and its organic virtual communities within will continue to feel unsatisfied and will continue to yearn for other collaborative options:

  • Community concept with opt-in membership (self-declared Join / Follow)
  • Aggregated Consumption – Filtered Activity Streams of your colleague AND community connections, in one easy to access place
  • Engagement – Features that engage users to continue conversation and contributions (timely and relevant notifications, participation points, highlighting popular contributions, etc.)

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

This week my example is more of an anti-example. I’m not to the point yet where I am shouting from the mountains that email is dying and it has no place in the workplace anymore, because I don’t believe it. But what I do see and what I do prefer as a user is the trend that email is becoming more of a notification system and less of a conversation medium. For folks comfortable with email as a work day workflow mechanism, using email as your “news feed” for keeping up with relevant collaboration activity can work well to drive early adoption of more social tools (by being notified of activity and then linking to the source for further participation), particularly for mobile devices.

But each day I continue to see examples of extremely long emails that contain project status updates, organizational newsletters, brainstorming results in tables / diagrams, etc. within the body of an email and not captured in a medium better suited to later retrieval, central updates and sharing with broader audiences…particularly when better tools for doing so are available. Another illustration that just providing the tools is not enough, but educating and providing examples of it working is a constant grind to get people out of the “email for everything” mindset.

This is teaching me to be more patient as I realize this takes time. I am thrilled to see gradual adoption and new examples of people starting to utilize superior conversation mechanisms, but I want it faster and more often!! Serenity now, serenity now.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. A Collection of 50+ Enterprise 2.0 Case Studies and Examples from Jacob Morgan – I’ll make this my only link this week since it has so much stuff.  But a nice collection of real world applications of Enterprise 2.0 activity. Again, about a month old, but I read it for the first time this week!

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @Mashable: “HUGE: Facebook Secures Patent for News Feed – http://bit.ly/cmn89j – Not sure this will turn into anything, but consider the possible Enterprise 2.0 ramifications if Facebook decided to be difficult with this. One of the key usability elements of drawing employees to such a capability is aggregation of connection-driven content/conversation…a nice use of news feeds!
  2. @hebsgaard: “10 emerging Enterprise 2.0 technologies to watch — http://bit.ly/9Tq1fg #gov20 #startups http://bit.ly/dmlint – Couldn’t help call out the relevancy to the use of the term “social features” when discussion a trend in Enterprise platforms…and “activity streams” beings called out as important to the industry (aka News Feed!..see above).

From the life and times of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

So did anyone watch the exciting conclusion of the Waste Management Phoenix Open? No? Well, I have to admit I didn’t watch much of it either even as a huge golf fan because it was on at the same time as that hockey game yesterday. What most don’t know is that PGA Tour stop is probably the most fun golf television you get outside of the four majors (The Masters, The British Open / Open Championship, The US Open, The PGA Championship) due to the raucous crowd surrounding the 16th hole. It’s an NFL crowd at a golf event, the one and only such environment on the tour. But it has been very unlucky from a scheduling perspective in recent years. For the last few seasons it was always played on the same day as the Super Bowl, and finally this year with some schedule changes I am sure tournament sponsors were ecstatic to highlight that environment to a large TV audience! But then USA vs. Canada: The Rematch happened, Sunday at 3pm EST. Oops. Sorry Waste Management. I bet your ratings got trashed.

I think this video of  Tiger’s Hole-In-One during this first PGA Tour season tells most of the story. And that crowd behavior wasn’t just because of his great shot, they act like that constantly on the weekend and end up intimidating every golfer that comes through. Better luck next year sponsors! Hopefully you don’t end up opposite Michael Jordan’s first game back after he un-retires again and plays for the Charlotte Bobcats next year…against LeBron James.

TV Minute:

I proclaim proclamations: For the most part I thought the Olympic action was “tremendously tremendous.” But I found the opening and closing ceremonies to be overwhelmingly underwhelming.
Top Reads of the Week:

  1. LOST Cast and Creators Give Scoop to Fans on the End from Watch with Kristin at E! Online – #5 says “Some IS coming to the island.” And here I thought Jacob’s statement was just a metaphor for convincing Jack to come to grips with his destined role to the island. What do I know?
  2. Crosby beats Miller in OT to earn gold for Canada – You didn’t happen to see this game did you? Anyone, anyone? I am not an avid hockey watcher, but something about the speed, intensity, unpredictability and lack of commercials during periods made this great sports television! Way to go to both teams.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @SI_PeterKing: “RT @MikeVacc: And now, thus mandatory historical reminder: in ’80, US trailed Finland 2-1 after 2 periods … Thanks, Mike.” – This was posted at the beginning of the 3rd period of the Gold Medal hockey game between US and Canada.
  2. @ProFootballTalk: “More details on the possible overtime changes http://is.gd/9opkK #NFL” – Hopefully some changes get passed on the NFL overtime rules. Much overdue now that field goal kickers are so much more efficient (distance and accuracy) these days vs. when the rule was created.
  3. @EricStangel: “USA Canada – Al Michaels is running to the microphone right now. ‘Come on, let me say something about another miracle!!'” – Immediately following the goal for the US that tied the game against Canada.
  4. @golfinbp: “Dang. The one night I get out, I can’t get foursquare to check me in! At Fleming’s in Indy. Shout. #nevergonnabemayor” – Seriously, this was a big deal. With children the ages of 3 and 4 and no immediately family within a 2 hour drive, we really don’t get out much. I was just excited to use my new Foursquare Blackberry app. Come on, man!

ME2: Horizontal Collaboration

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Horizontal Collaboration (AND Vertical Collaboration)

I have been using the term “Horizontal Collaboration” recently to describe to colleagues a key objective of our Enterprise 2.0 efforts – better enabling cross-silo community collaboration. This illustration also incorporates Andrew McAfee’s E2.0 Target Analysis concept to demonstrate the opportunity of encouraging culture and technology to better enable Horizontal Community Collaboration – significantly higher throughput of converting Potential Ties into Weak and Strong ties.

I am not pretending that the Enterprise 2.0 “movement” invented communities. Workers in the corporate environment have certainly operated in horizontal communities longer than I’ve been around, however, the means by which these communities have had to populate/share/communicate/persist have been a rate-limiting factor. Community originators and participants have been forced to work with business capabilities and culture rooted in Vertical Collaboration, resulting in high entry barriers, poor participation and attempts at knowledge sharing left poorly consumed, etc. Technology tools targeted at Horizontal Collaboration in combination with more transparent work behaviors can turbo-boost the benefits of organic communities within an organization.

It is also important to point out that advocating Enterprise 2.0 / social collaboration isn’t necessarily the equivalent to denouncing all forms of Vertical Collaboration. Each have their value and their place for particular types of work. Advocating Enterprise 2.0 / social collaboration is the recognition that we’ve found something effective at filling in the knowledge gaps left by traditional Vertical Collaboration methods that prevent organizations from maximizing the capacity of their people. Thus, encouraging the use of capabilities and behaviors that fill those gaps – Web 2.0 / social media inspired methods proving to be effective for Horizontal Community Collaboration – will complement your traditional collaboration methods well.

The trick then becomes 1) Aggregating the user experience of both styles of collaboration as to not add clutter to already inundated employees and 2) Education on easily identifying the unique merits of each method and how to make choices to maximize their contributions within each.

Fellow Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Council member Stan Garfield shared with us this week his incredible Communities Manifesto. And I thought his table (copied here) was a great educational tool for clarifying the reasons and benefits of Horizontal (Community) vs. Vertical (Team) collaboration of a person’s work/knowledge:

Communities Teams
Purpose
  • Learning
  • Problem-solving
  • Innovation
  • Mission accomplishment
Motivation
  • Voluntary
  • Assigned
Duration
  • Ongoing
  • Finite
Interaction
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Reusing good ideas
  • Solving problems for one another
  • Brainstorming new ideas
  • Sharing documents and files
  • Using a shared calendar
  • Attending regular conference calls and meetings
  • Maintaining a list of team members
  • Editing shared documents
Alignment
  • Practice
  • Interest
  • Responsibility

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

Most blogs that are authored and published within Lilly’s collaborative environment are either 1) Authored by a single person or 2) Authored by a small group of people but for the intent of pushing knowledge out to people not a part of the small group.

This week I came across a team using our blog platform in a slightly different manner and I thought it was clever. They had a team blog they used for communication within their team amongst one another, but they had the security open so others could read and benefit from their internal team conversations. The team was using this technology platform in place of an email distribution group (no more Reply-To-All-athons!). Obvious benefits include single instance of a message instead of many, transparency of responses and resulting conversation and long-term storage for history retrieval.

Sample (and generalized) interactions within this blog include:

  • “Team, I’m over booked this week, can I get some volunteers to help me with these 4 tasks I am not going to be able to get to….?”
  • “X task is complete. You can find the results stored in Y at this link.”
  • “I can’t remember the ingredients to product Z. Does anyone know what they were or where I would look to find out?”
  • “Don’t forget to stay up to date on your safety and compliance training by Feb 1!”
  • “I have completed the work to get equipment X replaced. The new machine will be installed and ready for you to use in 3 weeks.”
  • “Thanks to everyone for such great work today!   We have the following 3 outstanding requests that need to be escalated: 1, 2, 3″

Email distribution lists with many replies and difficult to track response threads drive you crazy? Consider this approach if possible for you.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. The Business Value of Social Networks – “Value creation has thus been shifting from protecting proprietary knowledge, to fostering collaboration, both within the company and beyond its boundaries, in order to help the firm participate in as broad and diverse a range of knowledge flows and thus improve its competitive position.”
  2. Social Media in Life Sciences – Not new, but I read it this week!  “The Social Workplace – Employees who actively share their knowledge emerge as experts, and companies that encourage employees to share their expertise build stronger peer-to-peer networks, accelerating internal productivity gains.”  My experience with the Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Council is certainly a testament to this statement.

ME2: Can We Afford Not To?

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From @TheBrycesWrite:

Can We Afford Not To?

As of late I chuckle when I read so much in the E2.0 world about the inherent struggles associated with making a business case and driving adoption of new capabilities. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the validity of those challenges, nor that I have experienced them in the past and will definitely have to work very hard on each in the near future. But as of late, my work time seems to be consumed by the opposite problem…new people/teams/projects coming out of the woodwork every week yearning for improved ways to collaborate…and wanting on board with my efforts ASAP. It’s a good problem to have, but I am beginning to feel the aches in my neck that Hercules probably felt about 6 months into carrying the world on his shoulders.

The problem lies in the fact that most people discover my project through a colleague of a colleague of a colleague. In such a large organization (sans horizontally-effective collaboration tools) it is difficult to make everyone aware of “coming attractions.” So what happens when people are desperate and frustrated with what is available to them and no immediate hope on the horizon? They find their own way (unlike my beloved Colts). Sometimes their “own way” includes going through the proper channels to implement a collaboration tool for local use, not knowing that introducing disparate social collaboration tools would be detrimental to the critical mass benefits we want to achieve. Other times their “own way” is using external tools where the data security and control risks aren’t well explored or mitigated. I at least have the luxury of describing what is to come to subdue localized efforts or inappropriate use of external tools for the greater cause…but I worry about organizations that aren’t yet to the point of being able to answer “When will then be now?” with “Soon!”

Can they really afford to not be closing in on offering their enlightened employees Hope 2.0?  (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

How long will intelligent and creative employees who are tired of wasting their time and energy with less efficient methods of collaboration wait idly by? It is way too easy now with the publicly available tools, many of which are free. And introducing corporate policies that “Just Say No” may work temporarily, but likely at the expense of employee engagement and ultimately productivity.

So back to the “driving adoption will be a struggle” concept…I am focused on it for sure because I understand that not everyone falls into the “already converted” camp that I describe above…but the reality has been for me that “herding the cats” has proven to be a huge time-consumer early in our E2.0 implementation efforts…and over time as we are able appease the self-converted with some capable tools…then our focus can shift to driving adoption for the next wave of employees via demonstration of real value and real business use cases identified not just by me, but also the people who showed some patience and afforded us the opportunity to deliver on the hope we promised.

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

One of the most common themes I read from new internal bloggers is “I’m not sure anyone will read this or if anyone will care what I have to say.” Sometimes there is truth to that because we are all busy with our day jobs, but occasionally we all benefit from working out loud because of the potential for serendipity and ability to retrieve that conversation for future reference.

Just this week we had an example of an employee frustrated with how convoluted managing the security settings within a collaboration space had become. She blogged about her observations of the site (many security layers, individual items managed separately from the overall site, many people with admin controls applying different security strategy), how she was tasked with trying to fix it and asked if anyone had any advice on how to ease the pain and confusion.

In relatively short order a few people commented on her blog (including myself) with best practices on simplifying security management (like starting out more open than closed). She responded that the feedback was timely because she had a meeting coming up…she presented the suggested concepts to her director and team and they agreed to move in a similar direction. Benefits: 1) Quicker to learn from experience of others than reinvent the wheel yourself and 2) Easier to convince others your idea is a good one when based on the experience of others instead of developed from scratch.

And to top it off, that virtual conversation will live on as data and if anyone else ever poses a similar question, maybe they’ll find it via enterprise search or maybe they’ll ask a community with a member aware of this blog post…who can provide a link instead of reinventing the conversation all over again.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. EMC Enterprise 2.0 Case Study Webinar – I’ve been a little link heavy on these webinars the last couple weeks, but it is warranted. There is great experiential data in these things that any practitioner should steal from shamelessly. Great job by Jamie.
  2. Critics Say Google Invades Privacy with New Service – If you haven’t been following the buzz on Google Buzz this week, this is a nice summary of the primary issues encountered. To Google’s credit, they have been quick to respond to these serious issues…probably faster than most would expect from a functional delivery standpoint. But it makes you think about speed vs. quality. Google is often used in case studies about how to deliver innovation quickly. And more often than not they have done so well. But examples such as this are what keep most of us operating more conservatively.
  3. What Really Motivates Workers? – “What’s my motivation?!!??” Progress. What’s my point? Read the first section of this blog post again.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @cflanagan: “Proud of our fellow @20Adoption Council member @JamiePappas is doing a great job on the EMC case study #acweb3″ - Check out the #acweb3 stream for more great tidbits from this webinar. Reaction and feedback was very positive.
  2. @SameerPatel: “RT @labnol: stupid advice from entrepreneur.com ‘Don’t let family obligations become interruptions to ur biz success.’ http://bit.ly/96Lv1F – My bad advice of the day: “Don’t let Valentine’s Day get in the way of completing your Monday blog post :)”
  3. @gyehuda: “+1 RT @Gartenberg: If Microsoft released Buzz the the way Google did, the lawsuits would have already started” – I haven’t tried it yet and probably won’t. Just amazed at the amount of conversation that Buzz has created this week when I don’t really see it offering much that we don’t already have, just in a different place. Even without the security issues, I don’t get it. (Now I sound like my Facebook friends that say to me “I don’t get Twitter.”) Touche.

From @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

As disappointed as I was watching the Olympics opening ceremonies, I was equally riveted watching Apolo Ohno in short track skating the next evening. In his first heat he waited at the back of the pack for 12 laps putting you on the edge of your seat. Then like lightning he passed every other skater on the outside like they were on a leisurely Sunday evening stroll. I couldn’t tear myself away when he was on the rest of the night. During the medal run I actually jumped out of my seat for the last 3 laps like I was watching the last two minutes of a Colts game. It is such a fluky sport with the falls and pushing and jostling, but I can’t look away when it is on!

My whole life the Kentucky Derby has been the “most exciting 2 minutes in sports,” but it actually crossed my mind last night that a medal race in this event with Apolo in it might be better. It is so unpredictable, as evidenced by the two Koreans taking each other out in the last turn and handing Silver and Bronze to the two Americans, including Ohno. I want more.

TV Minute:

I have to admit I have watched just about every season of Survivor since it debuted ten years ago. Although for the last few seasons I usually would watch while multi-tasking (translated as Tweeting, Facebooking, Reading news on my mobile) because it wasn’t holding my undivided attention. This season they have brought back some of the past contestants from other seasons and branded it “Heroes vs. Villains.”  I couldn’t look away. They had great personalities and memorable people. I think there was only one person that I couldn’t directly recall from previous seasons. The rest of them left permanent imprints on my memory as interesting personalities or impressive players of the game. If you aren’t watching this one, I recommend you give it a shot. My favorite plot line: the budding love tryst between Coach the Dragon Slayer and Jerri the Black Widow. How could that not result in pure entertainment?

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. LOST Redux – For LOST fans, a recap of some key thoughts from LOST. I still want to blog on this myself when I can find a few minutes.
  2. Colts Past Doesn’t Matter, and That’s a Good Thing – Some closure on the Colts season.
  3. 14 Fantastic Free WordPress Themes – I’ve been meaning to check these out more closely but haven’t yet.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @ApoloOhno: “Wow…historical night for me…I have absolutely NO REGRETS…thank you all for supporting me…I’m on cloud 9…skated a brutal hard race!”
  2. @MeganMurray: “RT @theresa_lauren: It’s okay, Canada. It happens to lots of host nations.”
  3. @SportsGuy33: “Serious question: Was ‘We Are The World 25′ an SNL Digital Short?”

Bonus Material:

Last evening my 3 year-old son was emptying anything he could find out of a closet in our computer room making a mess as is his norm. Well, one thing he pulled out caught my eye. It was a journal that I kept back in the mid-90’s while playing the Myst and Riven computer games (also remembering The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour as similar games). Anyone remember those? I was obsessed with trying to solve all the puzzles and mysteries in those games in late high-school / early college. I remember staying up into the wee hours of the night to play. My first entry was on New Year’s Eve in 1994. So it just goes to show how active my social life was back then!

Anyway, I bring this up for one reason…because of what I wrote in the final page of the journal back in March 1998 (college years): “I have now defeated Myst and Riven. I will play them again and document my results on my website this summer so I can share with my friends.” So I’ve been trying to find means to share my knowledge and learning for years!!??!…I was just meant to do this job I guess. Too bad I wasn’t creative enough back then to figure out better tools to do so!