Enterprise Social Software – Setting Out The Landscape

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Social software is big business. Facebook has 1.3 billion monthly active users . LinkedIn has 300 million users. Twitter has 271 million monthly active users. These are huge numbers – which indicate that these are sites that people want to use. To the corporate IT crowd they are present a challenge. Most people do not want to use the finance or HR systems of their employers. They only do so because they have to. So the idea of cashing in on the cred and hype of Facebook et al and implementing systems that people want to use is enticing. At the same time, the ways in which employees and customers use social media is unnerving for organisations. They are seen as a waste of time with people posting pictures of their cats or chatting with the friends. Or they are seen as an active risk with employees giving away trade secrets or customers bad mouthing you. Organisations perceive that they cannot fully control social media and this lack of control is disturbing for managers. But what if you could produce versions of these tools that offered the best of both worlds – tools that people want to use to share and collaborate but that also offer safeguards around control and security?

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2 Responses to Enterprise Social Software – Setting Out The Landscape

  1. Mark Gould says:

    This is an interesting article Matt. There are two perspectives that I think we need to pay more attention to.

    The first is that some forms of social media are more naturally part of the oral tradition (see this article, for example: https://medium.com/the-civic-beat/digital-culture-is-like-oral-culture-written-down-df896b287782). That has implications for the way we understand people’s interactions with such systems in public and behind the firewall. I am still pondering what those might be…

    The second is that the pervasiveness of social tools is probably changing people’s expectations of and behaviour within traditional enterprise systems. Nearly 20 years ago, I thought tools Ka-Ping Yee’s CritLink and Wendy Seltzer’s Annotation Engine would lead to meaningful commentary on web texts. I was wrong. The tools were good, but people weren’t ready to expose their thoughts publicly (even within closed environments). Now that user-generated content and social tools have become commonplace, perhaps the time is right for the new glossators (http://mg3c.com/2008/07/30/the-new-glossators/).

  2. innotecture says:

    Good points Mark. I would agree that some forms of social media are more “oral”. However because they are written, we don’t expect them to be – which causes the issues noted in the Medium article that you link to. I’m still not ready to walk away from written expression (despite colleagues refusing to read books because, well, just because really).

    As for people exposing their thoughts, a lot of that depends on the context. The use of enterprise social networks often feels like a performance, like a speech in meeting, not a chat over coffee. I will need to digest the glossator vs commenator distinction.

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