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March 08, 2009


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Jon Garfunkel

Quick though before brunch: if Enterprise systems implemented/facilitated a semantically-spiced XMPP, you probably you wouldn't need all those outside tools...

Kevin Griggs

[Okay, since its Sunday…]

Hallelujah, sister! You are testifying as you should!

Today, the social media space is a journey to crazy town. There are too many channels available to consumers to play with… but, alas do not fear… the market will sort it all out.

While those close to social media may have the impression that this stuff has been around for a while, the reality is that social media is still in the cradle and virtually all social media firms are living off angels.

The need to monetize will sort out the sinners… and they will be banished.

[Did I mention it was Sunday…?]

Sarah Bourne

Great vision, Rachel. I'd like to work like that someday! I think the barriers have to do with the limitations of existing software - the tech stovepipes within the org stovepipes - and the dearth of products to easily and affordably integrate and interact with existing systems. Claims are made in that area, but reality not so chipper!

Stewart Rogers

Thank you for this... it definitely helped me shape my vision for social technology. Especially, this... worth repeating:

"'Social' in the enterprise will not be about a destination or a tool - it will be the method by which information is filtered, how collaboration happens, how information is shared/distributed, how contributions are judged, and ultimately it will allow for more fluid and organic careers."

At the end of the day, integration will always be the barrier (or at least a major challenge) and collaboration/information sharing will be the driver. I will likely never see either problem solved, just improved. I also think it extends beyond just search, but it is a nice first step.

On a somewhat odd side note, the last two companies I visited - both blocked access to blogs (for reading). One company was more blocked than the other. Collaboration has to extend and be enabled beyond the traditional four walls.

Debra Askanase

Hi Rachel,
This is an amazingly impressive post. I like your overall concepts and have a few odd thoughts to add. Social will be about collaboration, and that is where it is heading. I think that applications where people can cross platforms easily is the next generation (would that be web 3.0 or 4.0?!) The fight is yet to come over OpenID -- I think it will play out similarly to the early days of the web with -- how much should it be integrated, separated and how private/public should identities be? Lastly, the new facebook is the face of the new web: business and personal are now one and the same.

I look forward to many more of your posts!

Ari Herzog

How is Akismet a social tool? :)

Joe Cascio

As I was reading the last bits about jobs nobody wants to do, I got to seeing your new enterprise as more a collection of "in-house freelancers".
Does this mean the bottom-up, self-organzing, emergent nature of our social media world will find its way into the enterprise? Intriguing thought, no?

Mark Wallace


Really like your post today. I agree with you and really like Sarah Bourne's comments too. Over the years, I have found that the biggest challenge with my enterprise clients is that access to some of the social type sites, tools, and applications are often restricted. As a result, those companies are using social technologies at a departmental level in stealth mode. Once they realize success, it then is noticed by the executives. That makes it challenging and usually causes many unnecessary delays. To make an enterprise a social enterprise, top executives need to make the commitment to become social and the message needs to be clearly communicated across departments.

Thanks for the post.

Rachel Happe

Great comments all - lots of tangents off this.

Integrations is a *huge* problems and interestingly one social software claims/tries so solve - at least at the social and conversational level. However, as Mark pointed out most efforts in the social space are still at the departmental level which just keeps things in the same silo.

Blocking information is always an option - and in some cases I might actually agree that it is the best policy (so highly dependent on what the company does and how it does business).

All of this gets to the very heart of executive strategy and I don't think a lot of senior executives see exactly how much it will impact their business. Not deciding to do something will in a lot of cases end up being decision of sorts. Taking the approach to block everything will also have a big, long term strategic impact.

I wonder how well the strategic impacts of using social media tools (inside or outside) the organization is understood.

And Joe - yes, I am thinking about a model where employees are treated more like contractors albeit with contract, salary, & benefits.

Thanks for all of the great comments!

Adam Cohen

Great post and comments here Rachel. While the tools need to evolve, I have a suspicion that the tools are still way ahead of the culture, education and mentality of enterprises. There are very few that have adopted a more open view of collaboration within the walls - so I think even with enhanced tools, processes and people would need to catch up. Having experienced this first hand in working with many corporations as clients, I think the strategic impacts of using these tools is poorly understood at best, at most companies. Hey, that sounds like a great opportunity...
Awesome thought-provoking post Rachel!

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