Working Out Loud Stories: Reply with a Link Instead

When I consult with people at work, trying my best to profess the magic of working out loud, a very common reaction I hear is, “I can’t shift my behaviors because everyone else I am working with is still just sending and reading emails. They don’t check [insert your online social platform here].”

A certain parental bridge analogy immediately comes to mind…and you could succumb to the behavior of others and waste your time when replying to something that involves the sharing of your reusable knowledge…or you could decide to maximize the return on your effort by working in a way that captures the knowledge you’re about to share in a more visible and reusable manner…replying with merely a link to your answer…instead of yet another tucked away email message full of content that few will ever find again.

Working Out Loud about Working Out Loud:

Late last year, I was forwarded an email with a request from a senior executive for successful examples of sales and marketing making use of social collaboration within our organization. I started an email listing a few communities that I knew of that were generating positive outcomes. At first my logic was “This was a private request, and this individual may not access our social business platform on a regular basis, so email would be the best response.”

As I was writing it, I realized how many other people may find that information useful. So I decided to instead create a wiki page and reply to the request with a link to my page. And I posted the page in a community focused on the practice of social business within the organization.

I included 9 communities in my initial list and replied to the email with a link to my new wiki page. and believe it or not I didn’t get any flack for replying with a link instead of putting the answer in an email body.

Within a couple hours of me posting the new page, I had someone from Europe editing the page to add their own examples that I had missed. Then a month later a few more were added…with some likes and bookmarks collected along the way as well. It had become a crowdsourced list of great examples that I continued to use as an educational resource for people working in sales and marketing.

The interactions could have ended there and I would have told you it was a success story because I converted the value from one person to tens of people at that point. But wait…there’s more…

About six months later, I had a conference call with some peers who asked me once again for good examples of internal sales and marketing communities. And once again I found myself typing an email with a link to that wiki page to help them find it. “Bryce! Walk the talk, dude!”

I listened to my inner voice and I shared the link with them via an open status update with mentions. First of all, sending people a link of something I had shared in the past and could find in less than a minute saved me a lot of time vs trying to recreate such a list again. Not to mention that the contributions of others had made it better, with a more global perspective added.

That simple shift in behavior led to more people discovering the 6-month-old resource and commenting about how helpful it was. It had some renewed life. Some people shared it within their own communities, some community managers shared it because they were proud for being openly recognized for the work they had done within that community. And quite a few people started joining communities they didn’t know existed within their field of interest / expertise.

As of today, the list I started with 9 example communities is up to 30, crowdsourced by the community and now on revision 12. It has a few hundred views and will continue to gather more.

Shifting one simple email request out into the open created value for others and made my life easier for future requests. And then months later, choosing to share that reference with others via an open method instead of email helped to resurface the wiki page and increase its value even further. The domino effects of that one initial decision to work out loud were in full motion.

Don’t think that every example has to go viral with thousands of hits to be a successful outcome of working out loud. As soon as that wiki page went from one view to two views I had increased the return I got and that my company got from that initial interaction…for what amounted to the same effort on my part.

I’ll throw in the disclaimer to not “shift” conversations where there is a risk you could reveal something the other parties involved may deem sensitive…but consider if generalizing your response in the name of sharing may work? Or ask for permission to post the answer / interaction more openly due to the potential for shared value.

Have you experienced any similar examples of one decision to be more transparent resulted in value you didn’t see coming?

Working Out Loud with Stories about Working Out Loud

This is hard for me to believe, but I wrote this post about Working Out Loud over 2 years ago: When Will We Work Out Loud? Soon! Then I went quiet (irony?) on this blog and also to a degree on Twitter, not so coincidentally coinciding with the launch of our internal employee social network.

Trust me, I’ve done plenty of working slightly muffled within our walls to spread the word and trying to educate folks about better ways of getting work done. But I have since felt a bit hypocritical not continuing the Work Out Loud theme more in the public domain.

Yet that Spaceballs themed blog post has taken on a life of its own continuing to draw in readers and references from bloggers on a fairly regular basis. (Take note of the hidden Working Out Loud value statement there for a minute. Kind of like when people joke about the wealthy making money while they sleep because their money works for them…I’m hopefully still helping people when I sleep because I’ve Worked Out Loud a time or two in my life. Helping me sleep better at night.)

Fortunately for everyone, John Stepper has done an outstanding job of developing his blog into a weekly must read on social collaboration, working out loud, and other future work concepts. His posts are my routine accompaniment to Saturday morning coffee. He must wake up much earlier than I do on the weekends ūüôā And the concept continues to get referenced in various blogs and articles on Social Business and Social Collaboration.

I’ve also struggled with how to balance my desires to share more publicly while respecting company policies regarding the use of social media. It takes a little extra energy to understand where the lines need to be in terms of what I can share and what I should not while writing posts like these…and still trying to be informative and useful…not just a bunch of generic theory that does little to further the conversation or the education of potential readers.

Each time my blog was linked to over the last 2 years I was flattered, but also embarrassed at how my blog looked and that my last post was 2 years ago, about winning a Twitter contest to hang with the owner of the Colts! So I’ve finally prioritized some things well enough to remedy that embarrassment.

I’ve always been a person that was better at identifying stories and relating those to value than sounding like a genius in theory or deep analysis. So that’s what I want to focus on. Real stories of people Working Out Loud and generating value and outcomes greater than had they not done so. And hopefully the stories will trigger new ideas and inspire new action toward the cause of changing how work gets done and how knowledge is shared.

I’m cheating with my first story. You just read it. One blog post written on a whim over two years ago, sarcastically relating serious business concepts to Dark Helmet and Colnel Sandurz, continuing to provide value to thousands of readers to this day. I certainly never imagined as I wrote it, what the concept could become as a result. And it is mostly thanks to how others have further expanded on and applied the concept in ways I am not capable. (Embedded lesson #2 here for those taking notes.)

What types of stories have you observed thanks to someone Working Out Loud that had a positive impact on an outcome? Your stories will most certainly trigger reminders of more examples that I have experienced and can’t wait to share in future posts.

“May the Schwartz be with you!”

Case Study: Tweeting with Colts Owner Jim Irsay

Over the last two days I have become enthralled with the Twitter activity of Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay). He has been using Twitter to reach out to Colts fans with various contests.
This isn’t a recent development as he has done some cash and ticket giveaways over the last few weeks, but he has recently upped the ante, and as someone in the profession of “social”, I can’t look away much to the chagrin of my wife!

Jim Irsay

He has launched three different contests the last few days with a ton of activity and interest from Colts fans:

  1. Free trip to Hawaii during the Pro Bowl, with some spending cash.  He posed a riddle, and awarded the first person to reply to him with the answer with the trip. Went pretty quick.
  2. Free Toyota Prius with $4,000 in the glove compartment. ¬†This will occur tomorrow starting at 1pm before the Colts vs. Titans game, and the winner must be the first to correctly answer a trivia question. You know I’ll be participating!
  3. This is the one that has been the most interesting to me...Inviting 10 fans to join him in his personal suite at Lucias Oil Stadium before tomorrow’s game and also get 2 free tickets to the game, the 10 that can make their case to him via Twitter that they are the Loudest and Proudest Colts fans out there. ¬†(Actually was expanded to 11 late last night).

The response to Irsay has been nothing short of fascinating. Just take a quick look at posts directed to @JimIrsay for a quick taste (still going because at least one if not two of the spots still remain). ¬†Watching it over my New Year’s Eve and New Years (and I must admit participating in some capacity) has been chaotic and a fascinating at the same time. So I wanted to share some observations that may help us learn from how such ideas and attempts at “customer” engagement can be so powerful in the world of Social Media / Social Collaboration / Social Business / Enterprise 2.0, etc.

What Went Well

  1. An emergent community – Irsay’s “Tweet wall” (found by searching for mentions of @JimIrsay) has become a community for Colts fans in and of itself. No lists necessary, no groups. Just follow tweets targeted at Jim and you see a thriving conversation between Colts fans. ¬†I myself shared tweets and direct messages with no less than 10 strangers I have never met but now will probably have as fellow Colts fans to tweet with during and around games!
  2. Fans Helping Fans – A lot of the tweets are people making a case for themselves and not interacting with anyone else, but a surprisingly high number of tweets are fans that realize there are those more needy than themselves or less likely to ever get to a game. So you started to see tweeters building campaigns for strangers to win instead of themselves!
  3. Winners Picking Winners – Jim did something else cool. After he picked winner #1, he assigned that person to watch the tweets on his “tweet wall” and pick a winner (I believe it was @naturallysassy1). ¬†All of a sudden, her “tweet wall” was bombarded with pleas, requests, jokes and new followers. And she picked who she thought was most deserving.
  4. Colts Picking Winners – Next Jim assigned one of his players, punter Pat McAfee (@Pat1McAfee), an active tweeter himself, to identify another winner. He did something that ended up being really neat to watch via Twitter. He enlisted popular teammate and fellow Tweeter Pierre Garcon (Garcon! Garcon!) to make an impromptu trip downtown, asking fans to meet them there. The winner would be the person with the best touchdown celebration dance. I couldn’t make it due to family obligations, but this lucky winner probably had some great moves, and likely was flagged for excessive celebration by any refs in the area!
  5. Having Fun Trying to Win – I didn’t tweet near as much as others, particularly those that won. But I did try some creative things here and there. Like my Blue Blood theme (think True Blood) and Breed Blue submissions.
  6. Talking to Winners – My favorite part were some of my direct interactions with people and for some strange reason, most I ended up “tweeting” and “dm’ing” most often all ended up being selected as winners (although one was not able to accept due to family obligations, but received this incredible tweet from Jim in response)! ¬†What are the chances? ¬†Am I the golden tweeter? I also had an inside track from early winners on what the exact details of the prizes were so I knew what I was playing for.

What Didn’t Go Over Well, In My Opinion

  1. Imposters! – Someone using @JimLrsay (with a little “L” to confuse users) actually caused some confusion and through some inappropriate tweeting actually caused some issues, one very noticeable violation of respect that probably was very emotional for one person. And the account was so difficult to visually detect, I had fear personally some of the tweets could damage Mr. Irsay’s reputation from only partially aware Tweet watchers. He even garnered responses from heavy Twitter media types like Peter King (SI), Bob Glauber (NewsDay), Micheal Smith (ESPN) and Bob Kravitz (IndyStar). But what was amazing, was as soon as people started to pick up on the stunt, it didn’t take long for everyone to “save the community” by raising awareness and calling out the ONE BAD SEED out of hundreds involved to keep a good thing going. Too often risk-averse people would have reacted but shutting the whole thing down, but the REAL Jim Irsay attacked it head on and didn’t let it interrupt his fun with the fans. He magically turned it to his advantage in the eyes of the fans.
  2. Mystery winners – A few selection seemed to come out of left field as this was presented as a Twitter contest, and all of the early winners were very active in Twitter. But one or two selections went to folks that had mysteriously little interaction up to that point. So it zapped the motivation of some participating. Not a horrible thing, but when looking at this from a fan engagement perspective, definitely want to play by the rules you establish in selecting winners and recognizing participants in your game.

All in all, I hated how addicting this was because I probably watched it too much and neglected some time with my family. But I couldn’t look away. Mostly, I came away with even more admiration and respect for Jim Irsay, and that is saying something because I was already a huge fan of the guy. ¬†Great work Jim! I hope you keep it up, if not at this furious pace you have begun!

There camaraderie element is so powerful, I’ve “met” many of the people that will be down there as winners tomorrow, and a little part of me wants to go down there and meet some of them in person after the last two days of posting back and forth. But I am fully aware of the “stalker-like” nature of a non-winner showing up to “hover” with the winners until they get whisked into Jim’s suite…to meet him…without me…eh hem…I mean..Congrats to them!!! ¬†Guess I’ll just go hang with my carbon friends like I usually do!

The real lesson here, for me, is how an event with some incentives not only motivates people to participate in your activities, but helps build loyalty, community and support that is hard to replicate in other mediums. Kudos to Jim and his Colts staff (assuming he had to have help with this, right?) for being so creative and engaging in a way no other professional sports organization has, as far as I can tell. I only hope I have the creativity to learn from this and apply something similar to the work that I do on a daily basis.  Very inspiring to me.

And finally, I’ll see all of you Colts fans tomorrow on Jim’s “tweet wall” trying to win that car!!! ¬†More fun!

Go Colts!

When will we Work Out Loud? Soon!

Breaking Down “Work Out Loud”

One of my favorite phrases to use for describing behaviors and critical outcomes of using Social Collaboration tools is “Work Out Loud.” So I was thrilled (from afar) to see some of the tweets around the topic from the¬†Santa Clara version of the E20 Conference a few weeks ago. The terminology emerged from a few sessions, most notably the session by¬†Brian Tullis and¬†Joe Crumpler titled “In the Flow: Patterns of Observable Work.” I also love Joe’s follow-up blog post,¬†Narrating Your Work, as a testimonial to the concepts working in action.

So we’ve got “Working Out Loud” bouncing around with “Observable Work” and “Narrating Your Work” as options we can use to teach folks new behaviors within our companies and ways to leverage open social collaboration capabilities. I think fundamentally each phrase is trying to convey the same point. Although, as I thought about each, I tried to think how people may interpret each phrase if they had never heard them before. I thought some different interpretations were possible, and here is how I am resolving it all in my head:

Working Out Loud   =   Observable Work   +   Narrating Your Work

Assumption: Narrating Your Work implies the act of journaling (blogging, micro-blogging, etc.)what you are doing in an open way for those interested to find and follow‚Ķhowever, by terminology doesn’t necessarily describe creating the work outputs / deliverables themselves in a manner available for others to consume. It also brings with it a “feel” of an additive activity to already-existing workload, which in my experience, some folks can be reluctant to accept. Joe even addressed that in his post talking about setting the 15 min aside to do so. Now, I realize that the benefits of doing this eventually buys you time back in other areas (email updates, status reports, status meetings, etc.) with a net overall time savings, but the act itself is still framed as a separate activity from the work itself in this phrase.

Whereas Observable Work to me implies creating / modifying / storing your work in places that others can see it, follow it and contribute to it IN PROCESS. The key being that items are available during the course of being worked on, and not waiting until a “final” deliverable to publish to a broader audience.

But those two concepts combined, however, bring it all together. Social-based software platforms can aid in this process, with capabilities that automatically “narrate” your Observable Work activities by publishing notices to the activity streams of your followers or the followers of communities in which you are conducting Observable Work. But the art we develop as socially proficient knowledge workers is where and how to best complement the activity-triggered auto-narrative with our own meta-narrative to achieve the types of positive benefits Joe describes in his blog post above.

I think having two elements with which to break down “Work Out Loud” helps with teaching key behaviors of social collaboration and providing examples of how software capabilities help contribute to each (ex. Wikis/Discussions/Open File Libraries = observable, Blogs/Micro-blogs = narrating).

Speaking of Teaching‚ĶWe’re at Now, Now

The other fun observation I recently had about Working Out Loud, is that the movie¬†Spaceballs already set this example for us back in the late 80’s with the classic “We’re at Now, now!” scene.

If you don’t know the premise of the scene, Dark Helmet and his faithful number one (Colonel Sandurz) are trying to hunt the good guys and have lost track of them. They get the great idea to watch Spaceballs: The Movie, which they happen to be in the process of filming. But thanks to new “advanced technology”, they have access a VHS version of the in-progress movie. So their plan is to watch scenes ahead of them in the movie to find where the good guys have gone.

The in-process copy of Spaceballs: The Movie is the blog / wiki / micro-blog equivalent of Working Out Loud. Just think of your in-process documents, status update blog posts and daily micro-blog updates as Your Project: The Movie. ¬†See the value Dark Helmet got outta having that resource at his disposal, knowing the whereabouts of other characters, without even having to call a production meeting? ¬†Unfortunately, it has taken us 23 years to figure out how to apply the genius of Spaceballs to our work environment! So let’s translate the conversation between Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurz into teachable lessons we can apply today:

  1. What the hell am I looking at? – Ever get this question when trying to explain the benefits of social collaboration or demonstrate your new social software platform to business partners? It’s a new way of working!
  2. You’re looking at now. Everything that happens now is happening now. – The current status, current issues and current state of deliverables are right in front of you to find easily when you need it.
  3. What happened to then? – By “journaling” your work in this platform, the current information is at the forefront for people that are interested to find, but the history of those stories is retained and easy to find as well.¬† Having your “journal” in emails or stashed away Word documents / PPT files makes finding the right information harder to dig out, or requires access to just the right person to find it in a timely manner.
  4. We’re at Now, now. When will then be now? Soon! –¬†You mean we don’t need as many status meetings? I can keep working and get more work done because you already know what is going on as a result of me Working Out Loud, and can ask your questions or add clarifications real-time instead of waiting for pre-scheduled meetings or status reports? Great!
  5. What? Where? When? WHOOOO!!??!! – Exactly! By shifting your primary work and communications out of knowledge silos and into observable platforms, anyone following the work can answer those questions or find answers to those questions with little effort.

Next week: When searching is your only option to find what is most relevant to you, think Combing the Desert!

ME2: Social Collaboration Myths

I just had one of those “I’m writing an email and I really should be sharing this more broadly!” moments…so I thought I would write a ME2 Tuesday Edition since I’ve been a ME2 slacker lately.

The questions I was posed had to do with concerns over the use of various enterprise social collaboration tools, which is natural.¬†I don’t fault the questions nor the questioners, because this is new to folks and if you haven’t experienced it first hand yet, probably difficult to recognize.

These same concerns are being asked at all enterprises that are investigating the use of social-based platforms to do business. They are great questions to ask, and gladly I had some data to provide some comfort. The primary questions asked were the following:

  • Will people spend too much time and not get their work done?
  • Will people misuse / abuse the technology to say inappropriate things?
  • How do we make clear that these tools are for “business use” only? And will people be able to make that distinction?

First, let me start¬†by referencing this Andrew McAfee Harvard Business Review article – “Shattering The Myths About Enterprise 2.0”. It covers some of the concerns¬†listed above. Specifically the information around Myth 1…and here’s my personal summary of that myth:

Myth 1: E2.0’s Risks Outweigh the Rewards
  • Risk perception: “What if people post hate speech?”, “What if people criticize leadership strategy?”, “Don’t these technologies make it easy for valuable information to seep out of the company?”, “Won’t employees use the collaboration software to plan social events instead of for work activities?”
  • Why these risks rarely come to fruition:
    • Attribution of content is the norm in business social collaboration software, not anonymity.
    • Sense of community amongst participants results in quick community reaction to abusive use of the platform.
    • In addition to organizational leaders, community leaders with earned influence can shape fellow employee’s behavior within the platform.
    • Many people¬†have been¬†active in public online forums and have learned how to act appropriately in online / transparent contexts.
    • Compare to email which is mostly private. Contributions to an ESSP are monitored by the entire workforce, thus the temptation or false sense of security to conduct inappropriate communications is less. If anything, this could lower the risk of¬†non-compliant virtual communication.

Next, in terms of limiting usage to “business use” communication only…I offer some caution. While we don’t want this to become viewed as another “Facebook” for employees, encouraging and allowing some interaction that is fun and non-work related (but still within the rules of conduct policies) is a good thing. It helps the virtual environment thrive by building relationships, which then encourages more comfort in business-related sharing.

It seems every company example I have read about that has existing social networks supports this notion vehemently as a critical success factor. The underlying argument – “People talk about non-work topics in meetings and around their desks, why wouldn’t we encourage that in a virtual environment as well?” It really helps with building a sense of community which promotes further business benefits…and I’ve seen this occurring within our internal blogging and micro-blogging community where professional sharing and personal relationship building are balanced very well. Others out there have similar experiences or testimonials to add here?

Now¬†a personal testimonial…a couple of years ago before I got into internal blogging, following internal blogs and enterprise micro-blogging…when I needed a mind break I would read external websites about sports, news, television, etc. But recently I’ve noticed I do much less of that and I spend more of my “down time” at work reading other people’s blogs and posts instead. I still need that mental down time to be effective at focusing deeply on my work.¬†But now, instead, I am using that time to learn about the work of others, build virtual relationships with people I wouldn’t meet or work with otherwise and occasionally teaching / helping others with their questions along the way as well.

So my internal social interactions have replaced my non-work distractions more than they have replaced me focusing on my work deliverables / objectives.

And at the same time, having those connections helps me complete my deliverables / objectives with more community input and help (crowdsourced) along the way!

Any other Enterprise 2.0 practitioners out there seeing similar benefits? Anyone out there who has experienced the opposite and found themselves less effective due to the “vacuum” that is social networking at work?

ME2: The 4C-able Future

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my regular foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind. I am realizing as the weather gets nicer and my golfing activity picks up, this may become a bi-weekly / monthly type post instead of a weekly Monday post. Too hard to sit a computer when I could be spending my time outside playing with my kids or hitting a little white ball all over the place!

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

The 4C-able Future

I am going to start out by saying this is really corny, and I recognize that. But it basically summarizes my primary outcome for working in an enterprise environment: 4C’s – Community Collaboration with Consolidated Consumption. We have collaboration capabilities¬† in place already, but when I listen to employee struggles and study what is missing vs. what is needed…it boils down to being able to collaboration more easily across the organization (cross-silo communities instead of just within team structures) and being able to consume all the data/activity/conversation occurring that is relevant to the person in a simple, aggregated fashion. Simple as that. Corny, but a nice succinct way to describe my desired outcomes.

Top Reads/Tweets of the Week:

Departing from form a bit this week because I have been a little too busy to keep up with anything interesting on Twitter, other than this nice summary of the best reads related to Enterprise 2.0 for the past month. But I’ve been debating something in my mind for the last month or so and I think I’ve finally come to a conclusion.

Last summer I decided that if I was going to have a “professional presence” in the social media space, my moniker of @GolfinBP just wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted something that identified with me as a person a little better than just me as a golfer / fan of golf. So I created a new account that is @TheBrycesWrite. I would have just dropped @GolfinBP, but I was quite happy with the following I had established as a sports fan (primarily NFL and golf related people) and I didn’t want to mess with losing that. Plus, as I advertised my “professional presence” a bit more I didn’t think people would be interested in my ramblings about the Colts, my toddlers, The Masters and my incredibly overwhelming DVR habits! And this was before Twitter enhanced the lists function, so I also wanted a nice segregated “feed” of the very different content I followed with each account.

So I have been trying to manage each since then, mostly talking personal topics as @GolfinBP and reserving any E2.0-related tweets for @TheBrycesWrite. But I think the time for that has come to an end. I don’t regret that I did it because I was still testing the waters for what I felt comfortable interacting with in a public forum related to my work, but I have become a bit more comfortable with that now and I understand better where my boundaries lie for what I should and should not discuss in public. This blog has also been an exercise in learning how to discuss interesting content while respecting the boundaries I need to consider as an employee of Lilly.

Thus, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be shifting my tweet activity to @TheBrycesWrite full-time and attempting to get some of my @GolfinBP followers to come with me (as well as attempting to ditch some of the unwanted ones as well ūüėČ ). And I’ll be making better use of lists to aid in my ability to consume what I need based on what I am looking for at a particular point in time (Enterprise 2.0, Football, Golf, Friends, TV, etc.) So THAT should be a fun process! I am sitting at 1,496 tweets on the @GolfinBP account, so maybe I’ll just stop at 1,500 even! That will be tough given that tonight is the NCAA championship and this is Master’s week. Not sure I can go completely cold turkey!

But really what it means is that my @TheBrycesWrite account will become much more active now!

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

With Butler in the NCAA Championship tonight and The Masters starting this week, I couldn’t talk just one sporting topic. So going with two.

Sports Minute I:

My wife and I earned our MBAs at Butler a few years ago before we had our children. Less than 2 years after we finished undergrad (at Miami of Ohio), she told me one day “I’m bored, we either need to have children now or go back to school.”¬† I said “Where’s the application?!?”

So needless to say this is a great week for our schools. Butler plays tonight in an improbable run to a chance at the National Championship, and Miami hockey is the #1 seed in the Frozen Four tournament and playing on Thursday night this week for a chance to play for the championship. I am going to be at Miami’s campus on Friday, so I certainly hope they win so the mood is good around campus.

Also, my wife’s sister is a student at Duke and we were down there to visit this past Thanksgiving. So I am sure the family/school rivalry jabs will be flying across Facebook tonight during the game! Should be a fun evening for all of us (well, except my brother-in-law, who is a Kentucky fan an expected the Wildcats to be in this position and is probably still sulking a little, but I can throw some jabs his way too just for fun).

Sports Minute II:

I am going to do my best to talk Masters and not focus solely on the whole “Tiger returns” thing like every other medium you might read…darn…just did it.

I usually pull for Phil Mickleson at the Masters just because I know how exciting watching tournaments and listening to crowds is when he plays well. But this year I have another sentimental favorite: Ernie Els. I know he wants nothing more than to win at Augusta and he is playing really well lately. Plus his recent public work to raise money for autism and coming out and talking about his family experience with a child with autism is pretty cool stuff. So here’s hoping Ernie has a great week! If only Ernie were on Twitter! Love following pro golfers on Twitter.

ME2: Practice Safe Social

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:

Practice Safe Social – Another Enterprise 2.0 Benefit

One consistent theme from my work interactions last week was with a few different teams beginning to research the use of external social media to conduct their respective business affairs. The other consistent element, from my own informal observation, is that most of the individuals on those teams have limited experience in social media beyond Facebook interactions within their personal inner circle.

This is the reason why anytime a team / person approaches me about utilization of external social media for business purposes, I encourage them to first experiment as a team with our internal social collaboration community (of course my hidden agenda is driving further adoption by intelligent individuals in the organization!). Emerge yourself and/or your team in the style of communication, the syntax of the tools and the etiquette of the community…because much of that environment internal to organizations is rooted in behaviors adopted from and technology emulating the recent and rampant success of Web 2.0. Taking the time to learn those behaviors in what should be a more forgiving environment, particularly if your role is representing a large corporation in a public forum, is valuable experience. Plus there are likely individuals participating that have some Web 2.0 proficiency that can help shape those external engagement efforts.

So if you are building a business case for expanding the Enterprise 2.0 footprint within your organization AND if you know that your organization is still maturing its external social media presence (who isn’t, really?)…then add this to your bullet list of benefits.

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

I am as guilty of this as anyone…but if I am walking somewhere and I see someone confused, I am not the type to stop regularly and help unless they look to be in severe distress. I am always amazed within “social collaboration environment”, however, how willing and anxious people are to help others with a question or experiencing confusion in that environment. The percentage of “help provided to those in need of help” to me seems higher than real life. Has that been studied yet?

Serving as an example the last two weeks, we have had a bit of a bump in members within our micro-blogging environment. Most are not only new to the environment, but to communicating using social tools period. And as those folks have jumped in, it has been nice to see so many positive examples of people sharing links to best practices or help guides, answering questions AND gently pointing out corrections to syntax (ie proper use of “@” or “#” in a post) for those trying to target their communications. For any decision-makers concerned about social media tools being a gateway to abusive conversation…there are 900x more examples of the community encouraging one another and probably being more helpful to one another in a social collaboration environment than they are in person (if they are anything like me!).

Top Reads/Tweets of the Week:

  1. @dhinchcliffe: “Q&A: Enterprise 2.0 changing the way we work http://bit.ly/avixCx New interview with @amcafee” – Great interview and succinct answers from Andrew McAfee about Enterprise 2.0.
  2. Jacob Morgan: The Impact of Collaboration on Enterprise Business Performance – Nice write-up by Jacob and a great resource to review for practitioners advocating Enterprise 2.0 methods.
  3. @ITSinsider: “blogged Enterprise 2.0: The Next Narrative http://is.gd/aI5oR” – As I said when I retweeted, “Get your popcorn ready!”¬† Should be good stuff.

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

So as is my tradition for at least 8 years, I take some vacation time on Thursday and/or Friday on opening weekend of the NCAA tournaments to enjoy two of the best sports days of the year. But this year it was combined with an extremely busy work week that took every minute to keep up with my commitments. So when I arose Saturday morning and took a quick inventory of what I had missed…I had 150+ unread emails, 800+ unread articles on Google Reader, ~20 internal blog posts I wanted to check out, MIA from Facebook and close to zero time in work or personal micro-blogging world. The nice thing about all of that?¬† I felt obligated to check and understand nearly all of those emails…but the social sources were voluntary consumption for my own interest/benefit that I could consume and filter I as I saw fit.

BTW…Villanova and Kansas losing are probably the best things that could have happened to my bracket. Granted I missed those picks, but downstream it really works in my favor. I am now a huge fair weather fan of Kentucky, Kansas State, Ohio State and anyone that will beat Baylor really soon.

TV Minute (re-purposed):

This really has nothing to do with TV, but I thought this story was better than anything I saw on TV this week. Another unique story about why I like using Twitter as a news source these days.

Last week my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin were vacationing in Hilton Head, South Carolina at the Palmetto Dunes beach. I usually am dense to the whereabouts of people other than myself (and sometimes I struggle with that too), but for some reason the fact they were there stuck with me. On Monday after watching 24 and heading to bed, I decided to check Twitter real quick for the latest. “Breaking News: Airplane crashes on beach in Hilton Head, SC…killing male jogger http://……..”

Whoa. Sinking feeling. “Hilton Head’s a big place. But weird this was posted and weird I decided to check instead of going to bed (it was almost midnight and I had to work the next day.) I’m sure it is somewhere else on the island.”

Click on link. “Plane crashes on Palmetto Dunes beach.” Double whoa. Time to make some phone calls. 15 minutes later I had confirmation that my family was fine.

Ends up my family members were okay, but the plane crashed on the beach right outside the place they were staying, and they had been in that area on the beach only 60-90 minutes before the plane crashed. Later in the week during a presentation I was giving someone from the audience asked me why I regularly look to Twitter for my current news instead of other more traditional sources (Google search, CNN, newspaper, etc.) and I immediately recalled this example from just 3 days earlier. Real-time news travels fast.

ME2: Spring Forward Edition

I am breaking form this week and going with a short version instead of my typical format because I lost an hour today and I have a really hectic week to prepare for! So think of this one more like a journal / reflection of the key things on the tip of a practitioners mind…and will likely ask more questions than provide any answers for anyone:

Enterprise 2.0 Stuff

  • One of my favorite weekly tasks is working with a group of folks to identify the best blog posts written within Lilly to publicize to the internal blogosphere. As I peruse the various blog entries that have been written I discover bloggers I have never read before, learn about projects and issues within the organization I wasn’t aware of and I typically take the time to comment on a few during the process where I have something intelligent to contribute. It is always¬† nice way to start off my week!
  • At Lilly we have many different buildings on our campus, and multiple campuses for that matter. In the last few weeks a few Foursquare users have begun to create locations for our buildings and have been checking-in regularly. It is a very small community, but a little game of #mayorwars has emerged. It has gotten a few of us thinking about ways to make practical business use of this in the enterprise. I know how business are using it to attract customers, but how could enterprises use for their internal employees? The employee engagement aspect is obvious, but what other ways can you think of to leverage location awareness on a corporate campus? This post offers one idea, but I’m wondering if any other creative uses out there?
  • I’ve been doing some prep work for some consulting with our internal recruiting department. While it is easy to study examples of how other companies are utilizing social media for recruiting and teach about effective ways to use external social media tools, the non-obvious element to consider teaching this group is creating increased awareness of internal social collaboration capabilities for two reasons: 1) For communicating to potential recruits the capabilities we have available for working effectively with peers and 2) As a safer “practice” environment for social tool interactions that they’ll need to utilize communicating with prospective employees.

Fun stuff:

  • Loved watching the PGA Tour event at the Doral Resort in Miami, FL this weekend. I have played two rounds at that course and watching an event on TV when you are familiar with the course changes the experience. I’ll still never forget standing on the tough 18th tee needing a par to shoot 79…and hooking my 2nd shot into the water! Double-bogey, 81. Now I want to got back and get it next time! Nice win by Ernie Els too.
  • Michael Emerson, Dr. Ben Linus, incredible on LOST this week. I actually watched that episode twice. So in the 2004 flash-sideways Ben and his Dad left the island…hmmm. Pretty significant revelation there, no doubt.
  • I am watching The Apprentice with Donald Trump in the background while writing this, and I am imagining getting 10 minutes in his boardroom to try and make the case for increasing the social collaboration presence in his organization. Tip #1: Don’t tell him that Rosie O’Donnell believes in it (not that I know if she does or doesn’t). But he has no love lost there.
  • This NCAA tourney is going to be fun for me, because in one form or another I have at least an indirect vested interest in the following teams: Kentucky, Butler, Ohio State, Duke, Louisville, Purdue, Notre Dame, Pitt. Sometimes that interest is in hoping that team loses!

Have a good week all. I’ll certainly be ready for some basketball come Thursday afternoon.

ME2: Network Effects in Action

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind. Today I am providing an algorithm for predicting what time of day on each Monday this blog entry will be posted: Weekend weather in Indianapolis good = Late post; Weekend weather in Indianapolis bad = Early post. Playing outside is too much fun! And sometimes I’ll take the kids out with me too.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Network Effects in Action

As I was brainstorming the content for today’s post, I kept coming back to the amount of activity I received late last week on my Horizontal Collaboration post from February 22nd as a perfect real-life illustration of the very concept the post was trying to convey. Let me explain:

  • I published that post on February 22nd, and tweeted its existence one time as @TheBrycesWrite. At the time I only had approximately 55 followers on that account. My blog posts also get syndicated to my personal Facebook account (~200 friends) and the 2.0 Adoption Community website. The post had approximately 45 total readers through March 4th, 32 of which came from the 2.0 Adoption site!
  • I also posted it that same day to my internal Lilly blog for Lilly employees to read, and posted an “advertisement” on our internal micro-blogging platform (probably reached ~150 eyes that way). I also sent a couple of emails to individuals in the week or two following with a link to the post. I have had 44 total unique readers of that post since February 22nd just inside Lilly’s walls.

So the immediate reaction could be anti-Horizontal Collaboration – because a post publicized to a huge online public virtual audience (external web / Twitter) generated the exact same readership as the same content in a much smaller community (my existing Strong/Weak ties within Lilly). “So where is all the serendipity, knowledge discovery, Potential Tie conversion, bigger inner circle benefit you keep blabbing on about that a large transparent social network presence should bring?”

That’s when March 5th happened. Susan Scrupski (@ITSinsider) came across the post by chance and re-tweeted it. That resulted in 10 subsequent re-tweets from people following Susan to their respective followers (some of which have fairly large follower numbers compared with my “modest” 68 – admittedly bumped a bit by last week’s activity). By my calculations (adding up the total followers of those accounts, then calibrating to some percentage of overlapping followers and non-active followers) that the approximate reach of that post increased from ~500 people to over 15,000 people!¬† So what has happened with reader activity (outside of Lilly) since then?

  • Between March 5th and this morning (3.5 days) the post has been read approximately 131 times.
  • Between Feb 22nd and March 4th:¬† ~4 views / day
  • Between March 5th and March 8th:¬† ~33 views / day
  • So an 30x increase in “reach” resulted in an 8x increase in “hits.”

Now I am not a statistician, so there is probably some flaws in this experiment to consider it rock solid, but it is certainly eye opening for a few reasons:

  1. Knowledge and Expertise Management – Content doesn’t speak for itself anymore because there is sooo much of it out there. If you want to achieve reach, you need to create Weak Ties with individuals that have a much greater reach than you have! And the more you do that, the more you can sit back and watch the power of the network do work for you, instead of you having to spend significant energy trying to accomplish that same reach on your own. Large organizations without effective Horizontal Collaboration networking and consumption capabilities will lack the ability to leverage this phenomenon.
  2. Self-Filtering – You mean a 30x increase in reach ONLY resulted in an 8x increase in hits?? I actually find that encouraging data for critics that complain that a heavily populated social network will result in employees being overwhelmed with information they have no interest in consuming. Sure, a lot of information can come their way, but people will naturally apply an “applicability” filter on top of their automated social network connection filters. Do you feel like you can get away with only consuming 25% of the emails that others target to you specifically? Do you think people will thrive by merely consuming 25% of the serendipitous knowledge that appear within their social network activity streams that they have elected to target on their own?
  3. Network reach – Think about the capabilities available inside of your organization vs. those available to you in the external world right now? Do you have the ability to leverage a network effect like this example for innovative ideas / cross-silo collaboration / knowledge sharing inside your firewall?¬† Tools can’t make this happen without willing people able to leverage them appropriately, but willing people can certainly be obstructed from maximizing their value without the tools to set them free.

Please retweet ūüôā

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

Just because people recognize and encourage the benefits of “working out loud” and sharing transparently does not automatically translate into behaviors that epitomize the philosophy. Changing your core behaviors and habits takes time. I often catch myself putting something in an email message that after the fact I wished I had published using a different medium. That’s partly why I contrived this weekly blog format, to provide myself with a routine I could rely on to “train myself” to share my thoughts with more regularity instead of falling back into old, less collaboratively-responsible communication means.

Internally we had a blogger challenge herself to a 30-day blog post challenge – one post a day for 30 straight business days. And the posts had to be thoughtful each day, not just a funny Dilbert cartoon of the day, for example. She also wasn’t challenging¬† her readers to do so, she was just trying to spice up the process a bit to stay in the habit. But a funny thing happened – at least 3-4 other people were inspired by the idea and have taken on the “the challenge” for their own individual blogs. The result has been a daily stream of thought-provoking posts from the participants, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the trend extend to a few other people before too long. I myself have not joined the challenge as of yet, because I don’t want to saturate the market, if you will. But maybe as this first round slows down in 25 or so work days, I’ll jump in to the challenge myself to see if we can motivate a few other bloggers to practice “working out loud” too.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. Social Media is key at the 100 largest Fortune 500 Companies – Jamie Pappas: Jamie summarizes some great data on the use of external social media by large organizations. I don’t have any data to support it, but I believe that transforming the “inside the firewall” culture to be more accepting of social collaboration amongst one another will begin to increase the comfort and aptitude to using external sources for effective customer / patient / partner / shareholder interactions. Benefits: Greater reach than almost any traditional medium, Lower entry cost than most traditional mediums.
  2. Webciety and Enterprise 2.0: A snapshot of today’s social computing conversations – Dion Hinchcliffe: Including some data on the dreaded ROI question – like the example where IBM “…cited that new collaborative technology had reduced the email volume in the company by 28%.”

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @Greg2dot0: “RT @carrieyoung: Microblogging will fade. We expect 2 C it as a feature of a fully integrated platform that has hooks across the enterprise.” – We’ll be watching this closely over the next few months because of the engaging and effective nature of short-form sharing and when / if / how the more powerful micro-blogging capabilities become incorporated into broader enterprise social collaboration platforms. I personally don’t want to see it “fade” as a capability, but only as a disconnected platform amongst other capabilities.
  2. @ITSinsider: “How innovation is measured at CSC. One of the best case studies in e20 from a conservative, traditional org. http://is.gd/9BRHo #e20″ – Anytime we can learn from the success CSC has had, that’s a good thing.

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

Holy spring-creep, Spiderman!  (That was a subtle shout-out to Camilo Villegas winning the Honda Classic this past weekend.) I received an email that my weekly golf league starts on April 8th! It was just 3 weeks ago I was shoveling my driveway nightly. My game is in no shape to take the course in defense of our league tournament championship from last season. I think Tiger and I are going to be on a similar training regimen over the next 4 weeks to return to action РTiger focusing on the Masters at Augusta, me focusing on my 9-hole Big Divots Golf League at the historic Sarah Shank golf course.

TV Minute:

Obviously the voters for the Oscar’s didn’t read my blog post about Avatar, otherwise it would have won hands down. If only I could have gotten Ashton Kutcher or Oprah to retweet that blog post history, James Cameron would be “king of the world” yet again. I am sure he is really hurting financially as a result of that lost opportunity.
Top Reads of the Week:

  1. Tiger’s Comeback tougher than Ali’s – Bill Simmons: With football season being over, my non-work related reading is a bit down…and the golf I am reading about has to do with a guy that isn’t even playing yet! My apologies to the guys out there playing and living well. I am ready for Phil to play some more!
  2. PhRMA’s FDA Comments related to the Social Media hearing: Progress on the topic!

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @wingoz: “Chilean earthquake changes earths axis. Wow. http://bit.ly/duytno – Does this mean we won’t have to “fall back” next week? I don’t like losing an hour.
  2. @jimmyfallon: “Gatorade ended its relationship w/ Tiger. They checked his cell & found texts from Powerade & Vitamin Water.”
  3. @golfinbp: “Luke’s random and worrisome quote of the night (stated with sweet 3yo voice): ‘When I get my real light saber, Abby will be dead.'” – Heh, kids. Where do they get this stuff? Certainly not from me!

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!