As announced in my last post, Dan Keldsen and I just started a new company – Information Architected. Obviously we get along …. and agree on everything,why else would we agree to be joined at the hip - Right? … WRONG. Like any good partnership (in my definition anyway), Dan and I often have differing perspectives and debate the merits of many things. Debate is good – without differing opinions one of us is redundant.
Take for example Web 2.0, and its extension inside the firewall, Enterprise 2.0. Earlier this year we published a Market IQ on Enterprise 2.0, (representing many months of research), and keynoted at the Enterprise 2.0 conference – together. So surely we agree on that topic. Well, we agree on much that relates to Enterprise 2.0 – but not everything.
Take Twitter as an example. I subscribe to Twitter. Dan subscribes to Twitter. I use Twitter casually. Dan uses Twitter extensively. Dan thinks Twitter is GREAT. I think Twitter is, well, OK I guess.
Dan is probably too often subjected to my complaining over the abuse of Twitter. I mean really, why do people on Twitter feel there is value in sharing with “the world” that: “enjoying a coffee right now- mmmm”, or “–just waking up, not showered yet.” For those unfamiliar – I am not making these quoted messages up, and they can get worse.
But as annoyed as I get, as I stated, I use Twitter. "Why then?" you ask. Because I also see the very positive and valuable side to collaborative social technologies. I do get value out of Twitter.
This value statement was clearly brought to the world’s attention during the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. The event was covered in a timely manner by “human journalists”, also known as "citizen Journalists”. Within minutes of the first attacks, many “ordinary citizens”, social networkers, were sharing news and video of the event, using hand-helds and the power of social networks. A very dramatic example of leveraging the power of social computing, to communicate important and relevant content, to educate from eye-witness accounts, in a timely manner.
But such value does not have to be linked to such dramatic content, that’s not my point. I was recently listening to NPR, and heard a great story, a lighter story about the powers of social computing.
Muscians around the world are finding one another and having interactive jam sessions – online. Real and valuable content (of course art and music’s value is in the eye and ear of the beholder), being collaboratively developed by a geographically diverse but like minded and intentioned groups of people. This is, in my opinion, a very creative and powerful example of creating new “realities” using the power of social computing and collaboration.
Ah, both examples are still outside the firewall, part of the Internet social web – so where is the tie to Enterprise 2.0. More importantly – what is the lesson learned. First, the tie. I am amazed at the rate at which the Internet is now driving user expectations. You may recall, that in the Findability IQ Dan and I wrote for AIIM, we found that experience with search on the Internet is the single greatest influence on increasing user expectations for enterprise search.
As for the the lesson learned. I still say that there is much abuse of social computing, but among the crap there are the jewels, new business models and valuable content. Enterprises should take heed from these and other examples of Web 2.0. Watch, learn, adapt and innovate. Look at the potential of the technology and model and shape it to advance the corporate mission and goals.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, entitled “Which Kind of Collaboration is Right For You?”, by Gary Pisano and Roberto Verganti, said it well. They point out that too many people who look at collaboration via platforms such as Twitter and Facebook think that social collaboration, by definition, must be completely open and free forming. Not so say Pisano and Verganti, and I agree. Within the firewall you can restrict access, impose governance and perhaps “ensure relevancy” – without necessarily squashing the dynamic creative capabilities of social computing.
OK – maybe I am just part of the graying workforce and my opinions are prejudiced by my age. But – to end this blog I want to share a video on YouTube that takes a comical but poignant look on the question – “Real Life Facebook.” WATCH IT – Its entertaining – and thought provoking.