Notes in the Margin

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

Archive for the ‘Social Web’ Category

Andrew McAfee: ‘Social Business’ is Past Retirement Age

Though there seems to be fluff-filled debate around this post – again, pundits being self-important in splitting hairs over semantics – this is a good reminder that the social elements of a work environment have been the subject of study and debate for, according to McAfee, over 80 years. What’s new is the enabling technology, so one should not understate the role of these enablers when describing or convincing others of the value of social media.

…(T)elling business decision makers “There are some important new (social) technologies available now, and they’ll help you address longstanding and vexing challenges you have” is very different than telling them “Business is social, and the more deeply you embrace that fact the better off you’ll be.”

The former sentence, I’ve found, is pretty effective at getting their attention. The latter one is less so, because I tell you with complete certainty that they’ve heard it many many times before. It’s a message that has been broadcast into the executive suite for fourscore years now… the message has been heard so often that it’s faded into the background.

I suspect that understating the technological side of social media is a deliberate attempt to move the discussion into a business context for the sake of persuading the business executives we’re trying to convince. But this is a reminder that the context in which business is conducted matters, and that context is technically-grounded social media.

‘Social Business’ is Past Retirement Age.


Written by tstaley

November 11, 2010 at 10:09 am

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

New key role (and term) in social-media ecosystem: “content curation”

When you think about it, “content curation” actually doesn’t seem like a new concept. It’s what has happened around water coolers and watering holes for ages. “Did you see that article in the Times yesterday?”

So it’s only natural that we pass along news, insights, reports, scandals, jokes as we have for millenia. It’s just that now we have new channels. Beyond email, Twitter and Facebook have, for me at least, become a primary source for information from the rest of the world.

According to Smart Blog on Social Media, content curation is the role most often played in the “social media ecosystem.”

With the explosive growth of Twitter and Facebook, along with other social-media networks and mobile applications, content gets shared in so many ways that maintaining a healthy diet of information consumption can, at times, seem like a losing battle… The results (of their poll) show that the term “content curation” (43.12%) has become more than a new catchphrase, as the role garnered almost half the responses. “Be the resource” seems to have become a mantra across social networks, as it shows awareness and influence.

(source: Smart Blog on Social Media)

Content curation is so popular because we’ve been wired for this role as a species. In fact, it’s exactly what this blog post (and much of this blog) is about. The key to using social media as your source for information is to choose your curators well.

via What’s your role in the social-media ecosystem? | SmartBlog on Social Media.

Written by tstaley

October 18, 2010 at 6:32 am

Posted in Social Web

How to get your Facebook content seen

Interesting insight for those looking to use Facebook to promote a business or a cause:

Your news feed is divided into two sections, “Top News” and “Most Recent News,” and people are automatically directed to their “Top News” feed when they log in. Facebook has even acknowledged that 95% of users only read their “Top News” version of the feed. Thus, to stay on your customer’s radar, your content must fall into the “Top News” category.

The short article contains specific suggestions for getting your posts listed on “Top News.”

via How to make your Facebook content “Top News” | SmartBlog on Social Media.

Written by tstaley

October 18, 2010 at 5:48 am

Posted in Social Web

Will Facebook Groups Kill Enterprise Social Networking?

I had been thinking that Facebook’s new groups feature might be an interesting way to support team collaboration within an enterprise, so this article on ReadWriteWeb was a timely reminder of the limitations of Facebook for such an approach.

These limitations include:

  • Lack of LDAP or Active Directory integration
  • Lack of support for the kind of expertise capture and discovery required by many enterprise social intranets.
  • Many companies wouldn’t want to encourage use of Facebook at work; in fact some even block access to Facebook from their network.

One big limitation, and a key part of the collaboration functionality required by enterprises, is robust document sharing and retrieval, which is nowhere in sight on Facebook, at least for now.

On the other hand, getting people to think creatively about how to work together online is a good thing, and Facebook Groups could encourage experimentation and learning within enterprises.

Will Facebook Groups Kill Enterprise Social Networking?

Written by tstaley

October 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Do consumers want to be treated as individuals? | SmartBlog on Social Media

I guess this isn’t surprising.

Last week’s poll question: Because of the social-media shift, do you think consumers are looking to be treated and spoken to as individuals instead of unknown statistics by brands?

  • Yes. They are humans who want to be treated as such by building relationships, getting involved and interacting with brands 61.59%
  • Neutral. Consumers don’t care as long as brands continue to offer products and services they need and want 35.76%
  • No. Consumers know they will always be nameless numbers, and they are used to being spoken at through advertising 2.65%

via Do consumers want to be treated as individuals? | SmartBlog on Social Media.

Written by tstaley

October 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

Posted in Social Web

Shareable: Is Social Media Catalyzing an Offline Sharing Economy?

A report from Latitude Research and Shareable Magazine on The New Sharing Economy shows a “fundamental shift from an ownership to an access economy.”

A few notable stats:

  • 78% of participants felt that experiences they’ve had interacting with people online have made them more open to the idea of sharing with strangers.
  • 75% of participants predicted that their offline sharing will increase in the next 5 years.
  • The most popular perceived benefits of sharing (67% each) were “saving money” and being “good for society.
  • 85% of all participants believe that Web and mobile technologies will play a critical role in building large-scale sharing communities for the future.

The full report is available as a PDF on Scribd.

Article available via Shareable: Is Social Media Catalyzing an Offline Sharing Economy?.

Written by tstaley

October 8, 2010 at 8:11 am

Posted in Commons, Social Web