Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Social Disconnect

There is a developing crisis in the enterprise 2.0 world. With every vendor rushing to grab a piece of the enterprise social pie, I as a user am finding myself in a situation where I am expected to be social in too many environments. This picture tells the story:
Where should I update my status now?
The picture shows the different social applications on my iPhone. Each of these applications is expecting me to be social and active to help harness the collective wisdom of the organization. But the practicality gets in the way: in how many environments can I feasibly update my status regularly? In how many environments can I really socially interact with my friends? I’d argue, only in one.

I use Twitter as the primary environment for my status messages. They are automatically syndicated to LinkedIn and to Facebook via Selected Tweets. I also update my status on OpenText Pulse which is our internal, secure and compliant social tool. But because it is secure, compliant, and work-related, my activity here is less social and more professional than on Twitter where I let my free spirit show its true face. All the other social environments don’t get any interaction from me other than sharing documents or answering questions. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I use Yammer and through my association with AIIM because that’s what AIIM selected - both are free for our purpose (or pretty cheap). We are not really using Salesforce Chatter but since my company uses, I wanted to check it out. Same for SAP StreamWork. None of these social environments get much activity from me - they are being used more as a traditional group collaboration tools than the “Facebook for the Enterprise”.

The bottom line is that enterprises will hardly succeed to convince users to be active in multiple disconnected social environments. There will be need for integration and there will be some winners and losers. And the likely winners will be the ones that touch the most users across the enterprise. In any case, it will be interesting to watch!

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