Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

Archive for the ‘Engagement’ Category

Semantics Don’t Matter

Whenever one is confronted with the process of researching a topic online, navigating through the myriad analysts, bloggers and/or pundits, the first task often involves constructing your own Rosetta Stone, with which you can interpret the sage insights one encounters.

A case in point is Gautam Ghosh’s recent post, Thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 and the Social Intranet, in which he carefully describes the distinction between the two concepts:

  • In enterprise 2.0 the tools enable employee to employee communication, awareness and collaboration
  • In the “social intranet” while employees do form communities, the primary focus is on the organization to employee communication customised by the “social” data shared by the employee.

There is hair-splitting here, and some apparently arbitrary definitions that get in the way of his real point, which could be “employee-driven communities work better than communities controlled by management”.

In a similar vein, in his post called Teams, Communities, And Social Networks, Mike Gotta points to the use of, and distinctions between, those three overwrought terms. The distinction between these three terms are as useful as the three descriptors “near”, “mid-range” and “far”. The three terms all relate to the same kind of entity – a set of relationships. They only differ in degree, the closeness of the relationship, especially as it relates to one’s day-day activities. Yet treatises are written about the distinction between them.

It’s hard to read or listen to analysts when they erect their imaginary intellectual constructs because they are, well, imaginary – concepts that are at best provisional. Reading Josh Bernoff’s and Ted Schadler’s book Empowered, I never got used to the term HERO (“highly empowered and resourceful operative”), which was clearly a contrived device to get across a concept that, frankly, didn’t need an annoying, even patronizing, acronym. Even Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” moniker, in his inspiring little book of the same name, was wearisome and limiting.

In some cases, analysts terms and concepts conjure distinctions that might be useful to get people up to speed on a content area, but real world practitioners need to abandon the concepts, or hold them very loosely, because they can interfere with actually engaging with others and getting work done.

For social media, social enterprise, collaborative teamwork, etc., the real point is to become better connected and better coordinated in thoughts and actions among a group, small or large. I suspect that much of this process is an innate instinct, and the rest will be worked out over time – in practice.


Written by tstaley

November 4, 2010 at 6:10 am

Posted in Engagement, Social Web

Build your social community with passive users | SmartBlog on Social Media

This is a useful reminder from Charlene Li, that the predominant audience for any social network site (e.g. 78% of the users) are passively watching, and not more actively engaged (sharing, commenting and more). This certainly makes good sense – that most people will cautiously lurk before becoming involved.

Li’s recommendation is that early social media site cultivate the watchers, who may grow into more actively engaged participants. This means that producers of social media sites need to do the heavy lifting at the outset, providing plenty of content for the watchers, and looking for opportunities to stimulate them into more active engagement.

Build your social community with passive users | SmartBlog on Social Media.

Written by tstaley

September 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Posted in Engagement, Social Web

Empowered Customers – HBR Article

Nice article on HBR by Josh Bernoff – clearly an excerpt from his forthcoming book of the same name – where he points to the power invested in customers by way of social media, and company strategies for not so much managing but channeling the power of the customer.

Employees, especially in marketing, sales, and customer service, see customers’ problems and use these technologies to solve them. Moving forward with their solutions creates challenges for three groups: the HEROes themselves, management, and IT.

Most companies aren’t set up to harness technological innovation that comes from outside IT. Their IT departments can’t launch and run these sorts of projects—they’re too far from customers and typically lack the budget and staff. Even so, they’re uncomfortable often with good reason when marketers and others move forward with technology. As for managers, both senior and midlevel, they want to encourage innovation but worry about the risks associated with these projects. And the HEROes have trouble executing their plans at scale in the absence of consistent support.

via Empowered – Harvard Business Review.

Written by tstaley

June 24, 2010 at 9:53 am

Posted in Engagement, Social Web