My initial forays remind me a little of when I started with twitter – why am I doing this? But Pinteret looks like it is gathering traction fast. Interesting to see that there continues to be room in the web2.0 world for new applications, new platforms. Twitter, Facebook, FourQquare do not service this market. They may integrate but the founders of Pinterest have found a new angle, a platform allowing users to interact in a different way.
So perhaps, in spite of much of the inane rubbish posted on social networking sites, these same sites are going to win out because they have become the holders of profiles we use for identifying ourselves across the web. The analysis is interesting in that it shows that Facebook leads the way – another reason that google needs to win with google+.
Important to think through how you want to use these solutions and resources – distraction is not in itself a bad thing. You need to manage the distractions.
Read Alex Pang’s piece on contemplative computing – courtesy of this article from ReadWriteWeb. Fits in with much of the discussion taking place across lots of enterprises – is IM, social networking, blogging contributing very much to the business? Surely IM (now often including video) is just another distraction to people who should be getting on with ‘the task at hand’.
As an individual consultant and researcher I am constantly required to manage the distractions – notwithstanding that were there no distractions there would be no interaction and no work. The debate reminds me of something about 10 years ago – we should not let the team have internet access because they will waster their time surfing. We seem to have moved on from this because, thankfully, in many cases the web has become a way fo doing work, communicating, researching, whatever.
I don’t think the answer has changed. You have to work out what you are trying to do and figure out how to use the available resources. If you expect to gain from online interaction then you need to recognise that it is a two way street – you will need to be active (or at least be responsive) in order to gain. When you need to work in a quiet, non distracted mode, you need to make yourself unavailable.
Business has changed. It’s not just the desk based personnel who are being bombarded by distractions. Smartphones mean that anyone can be online at any time. Education in the workplace has not caught up – people need training, awareness and guidance on tools which they can use to assist them in managing the online world rather than being managed by the online world.
Introducing social networking within the enterprise
Have been thinking for some time about the best ways to establish effective social networking within the enterprise. I like the phrase I see used some places – social working.
My starting point is that most companies that are in any way successful are already reasonably proficient at social working ie working in teams, brainstorming, sharing ideas, collaborating. So this is not about introducing a new concept – it’s about looking to see whether we can use some of the technologies to assist in more effective collaboration, team work, etc.
Seems to me one of the challenges in commencing an initiative through a pilot is that to some extent the value of the solution is dependent on widespread penetration and adoption. However it is also important to see which suite of products work most effectively, determine potential benefits of any preconfiguration or integration, determine any training requirements.
I am curious to see the potential benefits of a facebook or twitter type application within the enterprise. And to understand the limitations of an enterprise walled-in solution as against a web wide solution such as twitter. But the idea of some form of continuous stream such as a twitter type app seems attractive as a way to provide somewhere for sharing all sorts of information – notwithstanding the inevitable ‘noise’ arising from general posts.
Another challenge to many organisations is the varying level of comfort across people in using such applications. As the social network becomes the primary communication channel there are risks associated with potentially losing some of the non participants. Alternatively some of the potential gains are lost if we are obliged to duplicate things outside the social networking platform.
Great piece from Tom Peters highlighting the strengths of Mickey Drexler, CEO of J. Crew. Peters picks out so many things that appeal to him in Drexler’s approach – clearly a man who walks the walk and talks the talk. But what I am drawn to in particular is his respect for younger or more junior people in the organisation:
Listens attentively regardless of age/seniority
Obvious in his transparent respect for young employees
As we begin to embrace social networking and the associated collaborative approach a key step for enterprise management is to embrace the new generation – sometimes referred to as the F generation (in reference to facebook). These are the people who know and understand these solutions. Bring them on board – put them at the centre of the required change. Have them mentor senior, more experienced managers – mentoring is a tow way process.