Social’s Tussle with Email

email2

The Kill Email meme never really dies. Ever since the dawn of enterprise social computing circa 2006, the value proposition has been waffling between being a process killer to a portal killer and my favorite, an email killer. Stare Email in the face all you want. She’s looking back and laughing at you.

Then I saw this by Stowe Boyd over at GigaOm Pro. Stowe cites some insightful findings in Nassim Tableb’s book “The Surprising Truth: Technology Is Aging in Reverse“;

“We’re living in a Black Swan world, but what does this mean for the future of technology? My new book Antifragile argues that technologies, ideas, and theories – anything informational or cultural, as opposed to physical – age in reverse.

We may be trained to think that the new is about to overcome the old, but that’s just an optical illusion. Because the failure rate of the new is much, much higher than the failure rate of the old. When you see a young child and an old adult, you can be confident that the younger will likely survive the elder.

Yet with something nonperishable like a technology, that’s not the case.

There are two possibilities: Either both are expected to have the same additional life expectancy, or the old is expected to have a longer expectancy than the young. In this situation, if the old is 80 and the young is 10, the elder is expected to live eight times as long as the younger one.”

Stowe ends with:

“So, applying Taleb’s reasoning and Benoit Mandelbrot’s version of the Lindy effect, our modern social technologies — most of which haven’t been with us more than five years — can be guaranteed to be with us only an addition five years or so. And those pre- or proto-social technologies — like instant messaging and email — may be with us 50 years or more, even if the social tools don’t fall into disuse.”

Here’s the thing about reducing email with social networking: if you hate email because a good chunk of it is a irrelevant stream of information someone pushed at you without your consent, you aint seen nothing yet. Silo’d enterprise social networking can be way worse – not only do you have people pushing stuff at you, you have system notifications coming from applications drowning out even the few golden nuggets. As Constellation Research’s Alan Lepofsky wrote:

“Any reduction in the number of emails is a good thing. OMG I hate this one. Now instead of checking my inbox I have to check Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Yammer, LinkedIn, etc. Uggghhhh. Bifurcation of information is a real problem. Yes all these tools can send email notifications, but isn’t the point to reduce email? Yes many streams can aggregate information from multiple sources, but that just leads to a lot of noise, so how is that different than an inbox?”

Look, information overload is absolutely a huge problem. But enterprise social networking isn’t the obvious solution. What’s needed is what Stowe describes as “new communication technologies have to be a full order of magnitude better that those that came earlier”. That full order of magnitude won’t come from just shifting notifications from Outlook to SocialNetwork feeds. Rather, it will come from making it exponentially more efficient to message, to collaborate and to share in radically different ways where the outcome is 5-10-50 times better. And one of those ways is to infuse: a) Comprehensive people discovery based on new identity paradigms, and b) Collaboration into core business activities and tasks and in a way that implicitly shows how collaboration capabilities available at whatever point of action – a business event like discussing an invoice exception, or facilitating sales budgeting within your Finance ERP application, or dispute resolution with a supplier – making it far more effective to drive execution and decisions than anything that your zero-IQ email inbox can even dream of handling.

Nassim points a new headache: regardless of your good intentions to kill email, the odd are against you. Moving from one dumb messaging paradigm like email to another dumb messaging paradigm like stand alone social networking won’t cut it.

But in actuality, the stakes are really high. On one hand, most core business activities have a huge unstructured component that happens outside transaction systems such as CRM, Talent Management or Supply Chain. But we have a ways to go when it comes to leveraging social tools to facilitate this change. On the other hand, none of us need statistics to really convince ourselves that email bankruptcy is a fact of working life for almost all of us. So clearly the opportunity to show a better approach is ripe.

There’s some amazing innovation out there to super charge email. Simple tools such as Rapportive, Boomerang, and this very nifty tool from AOL called Alto (Hat Tip, Jeff Nolan). Whilst I can’t live without some of these, in the large scheme of things these are short-term Tylenol tablets to a tenacious problem that’s going to keep getting worse.

The answer won’t come from these sophisticated email tools but rather, from re-thinking business applications which is clearly underway and subsumes a lot of my time as I think about our product. And as CIO’s, it’s time to reconsider messaging as infrastructure and business software as applications. Rather, these teams need to collectively think about what combination of technology can re-cast the very essence of digital messaging by making it smart, in context of work that you are doing, and available at the point of action and decision making.

Comments also rolling in on Google Plus, here.

Image Credit: ClearContext.

Subscribe to this Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Tags:
29 Comments
Post Details
29 comments
Amrith Das
Amrith Das

Sameer - great post. I was recently asked a question - "Do you really think work gets done in emails"? The answer I got after pondering was that email has taken up the role of a record keeper for the enterprise. I believe the real value of a social network will be unlocked only when you shift meetings onto the network - Putting it simply the best way to gauge effectiveness of a social network is to see the reduction of business meetings post implementation within a business unit. The bifurcation into multiple social streams is a nightmare to existing users  -  Unless contextual filters are setup to get work done effectively the proliferation of social tools as you mentioned diminshes productivity

John Tropea
John Tropea

Agree Larry on facilitating behavioural change, but as Sameer points out and Greg Lowe concurs "in order for something to replace e-mail it has to be not incrementally better, but logarithmicly better" http://andrewmcafee.org/2006/09/the_9x_email_problem/ http://connected-marketing.tumblr.com/post/19019547539/the-9x-effect To me the technology is still immature...what's the use of behaviour change efforts if the technology isn't there yet. Online social networks are for discovering and good to know stuff that seeds collaboration, etc....but are they also a place to do work, like we do work in email. If so then the notifications box (which is like an email inbox) needs to have great focus. We simply don't live in the notifications box in online social networks, but we do live in the inbox in email...why...cause this is where people ask us to do things...which means it's the most important place to be. If the notifications box is a weak feature in online social networks, then it's not really serious about the work experience The other thing with email is that there is more certainty of what's happening, whereas with online social networks the system takes care of some things. I'll explain in an example below: If I reply to an email chain, I know who's gonna get it. In online social networks I'm not really sure who's getting my reply, as it's not intuitive to find out who follows the group space or person who made the post. But it's more than this...it's different to email in that people will see a post two different ways ie. the followers are getting the original post in their follow stream, and if anyone was mentioned in the post, then this will appear in their notifications box (which is the only part that's similar to the email experience ie email inbox). Let's keep going, the people who have left a reply, or people that are being mentioned within a reply are getting these replies in their notification box...the rest of the followers are not...I don't think people that are used to using email understand this And finally, being @mentioned in a post does not mean you are notified of new comments https://plus.google.com/108696582604808530200/posts/LpfiEd57Biy Now compare those intricacies above, to an email system where I have an inbox, sent box and a to: field...there's nothing tricky or confusing about this at all...it's so easy, it's second nature. http://libraryclips.blogsome.com/2012/03/26/enterprise-activity-streamssometimes-it-is-about-the-technology/

Marty Thompson
Marty Thompson

Way to go, folks. I read the new post from Sameer, and suddenly, it turns into a huge conversation, loaded with goodies. Kind of like opening a book by David Sedaris, only to find Umberto Eco. No complaints, though. I don't see email being suddenly supplanted by any social efforts, and if and when that does happen, it will be a gradual process. Many of the key elements, functionally, will remain, and more "social" elements will be included. In particular, for the enterprise software folks, you have so much to work with; well defined, integrated processes, etc. The wires are already strung, and finding exceptions is a big part of what pushing "social" internally is all about. What I am hearing about with some regular frequency relates more to widespread acceptance of social collaboration, burnout, and that nagging legacy of actually proving value, at least where internal enterprise deployments are concerned. Just because it has moved internally, away from the sales and marketing crowd, doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to value. And this is where I think the work Sameer is doing is so incredibly valuable for SAP, and for others who care to look. For SAP in particular, the huge move to SAP on HANA will have a profound impact on how social collaboration will evolve. As a marketer, my head was literally about to explode over the weekend, as I tried to come to terms with what it will mean any organization using SAP. 

Richard Rashty
Richard Rashty

Social technologies, in order to evolve into more than a platform will need to shift from "Brick" to "Mortar", a layering adhesive between people, processes, content/information; contextualizing digital and analog relationships across the Enterprise 

Larry Hawes
Larry Hawes

Thanks for this post, Sameer. You've captured the essence of an existing, good debate, which is continued in the comments made here. It seems that more business people are beginning to understand the value of embedding communication technology – be it email, IM, VoIP or status updating – in enterprise applications. It is impossible to collaborate if you can't communicate. So, if we want collaboration, we need to make communication easy and ubiquitous from a technology perspective. Your comments on ingrained behavior are the most interesting to me. We will see a tipping point away from trying (or pretending!) to collaborate via email as more young people enter the workforce. I closely observed my oldest (19 y.o.) son working with his classmates while he was still in high school. He was not studying for "my" exam; they were preparing for "our" test/quiz. Together. And on Facebook or via SMS, not in email. Same with assignments, even those that were not expected to be done as a group. People his age naturally work "out loud" and together. That will eventually become the new norm in the workplace. Another big facilitator of the change you are advocating for is mobile. Why? Because it gives us a clean slate from both technology and behavioral perspectives. We can use that blank canvas to design computing experiences that allow us to seamlessly combine the transactional, communication and collaboration aspects of work. For a good example of this, check out what DoubleDutch is doing with their platform and applications. Keep pushing the boundaries, my friend! I'm encouraged by what I've seen in SAP Jam so far.

Joachim Stroh
Joachim Stroh

I think this discussion has moved on. It's not about the end of email or email vs. this or that tool anymore. No, it's about working openly, creating transparency, showing your cards (work-in-progress). That's not possible with email. Sure, we supercharge email (creating embedded experiences, as Alan defines it), maintain a position for it at the center of our (imaginary) control, and will hold on to it, until, well until we change our work habit for good. I can't wait for that moment.

elsua
elsua

Hi Sameer, my dear friend, I guess I should drop by and leave a comment over here on this post, right? Since people have been perceiving over the course of the last 5 years (February 15th 2013 will be the date ;-)) that I am that guy "who killed email" or something or the sort... Well, here I am...  Where shall I start? Hummm, how about by mentioning that email is not going to die any time soon, or over the next few decades? How about if we raise the stakes over here in this silly game of indicating that "email is dead", or that "I live by email", or that "email is still the king of everything corporate", or that "social networking tools are king", and instead of saying all of that we start coming to terms with the fact that it's *us*, knowledge workers, practitioners, end-users or whatever other term you would want to use, the ones who are constantly abusing AND  killing our very own productivity by misusing email on a rather frequent and poignant basis. If you would take out the political and bullying games, the everlasting need to cover your butt, the need to justify / track every single thing because no-one trusts you in your work (not even your boss!), or if we would just stop dumping our work and delegate onto others, stealing their credit, or just simply if we would understand that email is just a tool, and enabler to do something, and that it is down to us to use it properly for the uses that it was first envisioned for (Over 40 years ago!) we would be much better off! Email still has got a place.  In fact, it's the central hub that will transform how we use social networking tools, because it will become the *new* people driven aggregator of relevant content. It will transform, if not already, into a social messaging and notification system more than remaining a content repository, which is what it's been all along so far. And instead we are going to need to focus on openning up, on becoming more transparent, more public, more collaborative (Without asking anything in return, i.e. double agendas), more helping (and caring for!) each other rather than on stabbing one another with that devious email where you are .cced, or bcced, for instance. That's the revolution that email still needs to go through. And it's not the system / the tool. It's us.  It's our daily habits of how we confront email. It's our mindset and how we keep refusing to shift gears into a true, open, transparent, trustworthy enterprise collaborative world. It's our ability to make it much more complex than what it should all be. For instance, on all of these reports about the surge of email, like the one you linked to above, have you ever wondered why we haven't seen any real, decent studies on measuring email = content repository driven interactions vs. BACN email = notifications? No, it won't happen. It'd be too scary for email providers / vendors to face that mind-blowing statistic. They are not ready.  Nor are we! eMail will be there still for a long time. For as long as people don't change their habits, their mindset, their ability of getting work done collaboratively, versus fighting each other, email will still have its place as we know it. At the end of the day our email use is just a clear case of the me, me, me, versus the we, we, we (Work together more effectively). The moment we break that mental model, the moment we will be breaking away from the email yoke. Forever.  Oh, and a big, huge difference between social networking tools and eMail that most folks seem to keep ignoring time and time again: you can never control email, because it always depends on other people dumping *their* work on you. On social networking tools you control the flow, the people who you want to work with, or the systems you would want to get relevant content from, and how you would want to collaborate with over time. Tuesday would be my first day back at work after the new year (Have a wonderful one everyone, by the way!), for instance, after an extended vacation and there will be two things that, 5 years later living "A World Without eMail" (#lawwe), have become part of my daily work life now:  1. Not a single email awaiting for me at all.  2. My social networks "welcoming" me back into *our* work flow where I'll chip in right where they left it tomorrow for me. The rest is history.  Moving on with the flow understanding I'm just one of them, one other node, working together, in an open, collaborative manner, helping each other getting work done vs. fighting each and everyone. Life is just too short to keep doing the latter, don't you think?  PS. Apologies for the length of the blog comment, but you know me, I may have been on vacation all of these last few weeks, but it looks like I'm just as verbose as I was before ;-)  Thanks for the lovely conversation! Perhaps on a follow-up comment we can discuss how technology can help accommodate us to make that mental shift I mentioned above ... Or I could explain in very practical terms the very tangible benefits of ditching corporate email and move into social networking tools to get work done... We shall see :)

Alan Lepofsky
Alan Lepofsky

For now email is still the central hub for work related notifications, conversations and collaboration. When more of these activities can be done right inside the context of core business applications, then and only then will we see a reduction in the reliance on email.  This is what I talk about when I preach "Bring back the silos, sort of!" Talking about transparency, openness, etc. is not the answer, as "social" creates more of a headache than email ever did.

Mark Tamis
Mark Tamis

I like the underlying message, Sameer. Intelligence about exposure to information delivered through whatever channel duo that you don't waste cycles on things that are irrelevant is needed. I think we'll need to construct an understanding of the context (what are the objectives -jobs to be done-of the recipient) and use that to make this determination You'll have fun with it, I'm sure :-) Cheers Mark

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

Thanks much, Sameer, for sharing along the follow-up from Stowe! Very interesting! I found this quote particularly relevant to the conversation in the comments:  "Email is still with us, because social tools haven’t gone far enough to make email obsolete, they haven’t come close to the order of magnitude improvement I suggested was necessary to jettison email altogether." May well be so, but let's not forget how many years email has been in the making and how many years ESNs have been there? 40 to 6 perhaps? Perhaps we need to be a bit more patient and invest more on our change / shift of habits, as mentioned on my comment to John Tropea than just waiting for technology to adjust accordingly. Some times, we, humans, tend to be, even faster, than technology. At least, to catch up!  Fear not, it will be happening, and when it does, we would all be looking back at this blog post and laugh our b*tts off! :-O

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

Whoaaahhh! Fantastic response, John, and I surely agree with plenty of the points you raised about several of the inadequacies of ESNs versus traditional email. However, at the same time, I think there are a couple of things that we need to be aware of and that I think are equally important to understand the context of where we are with both of them:  1. eMail has been there for over 40 years and everything that needs to be invented or innovated about it has already been done. It's been 40 years in the making to reach that "almost perfection" status. ESNs, on the other hand, haven't been there for more than 5 to 6 years max, so we can't expect to have the same kind of rampant, long standing innovation that happened with eMail in just a few years for ESNs. Let's see, do you think that ESNs will be in the same state as today in another 34 years, like eMail had at the time? I don't think so. I think it's part of that co-evolution we are experiencing both ourselves along with ESNs in trying to accommodate us and the work we do. We did that before, with eMail, where certain things were added by us, end-users, and not by the system itself when it was originally put together. Remember, at the time, it just was a messaging and notification system, pretty much like most ESNs today. Let's give it time...  2. And eventually settle in as well with that concept that we also need to adjust our mental models of how we work, or have been working with email. Its private, opaque, obscure nature clearly indicates how we needed to always do an extra bit of OVER-communication (To cover our tracks, our b*tt, our work, ourselves, and so fort). With social networking tools where there is a lot more openness and transparency there isn't such need of over-communicating, even though we do our fair bit of over-sharing. Still the message here is that by using more open, transparent and public social, collaborative and knowledge sharing tools, we are going to see a need to reduce the noise for ourselves. Once we start feeling comfortable with letting things go, with relying on the flow of information vs. stagnation, with understanding it's ok to miss info, because if it is really important and critical for my day to day job, it'll eventually end coming up again. That mental model / shift is going to take time, but, in my experience, it's inevitable. Once you start living it, there is no way back. In fact, going back to email = the old way would sound awful, if not too depressing on its own! 

Sameer Patel
Sameer Patel

I love it, Richard. Will take a lot more than words, but nicely put.

Sameer Patel
Sameer Patel

Larry I love it when the comments are better than my post. Your points are astute. The change will come in many ways and what you lay out will no doubt be some of the real drivers at scale. I only have one hope: that we don't have to wait until the millennials have strength in numbers. :) Until then we better start with putting messaging in context to solve today's problems.

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

Hi Larry! Goodness! Surely *loved* your commentary about that fundamental shift away from the me, me, me and everything else around me into the more favourable of we / our, even if it is meant for individual work. Fascinating to see how the younger generations, just like we did ourselves back in the day!!, keep pushing the limits and boundaries of how collaboration and knowledge sharing happen in the workplace. There will be an additional challenge we would need to look into it, over time, and perhaps a bit out of the scope from Sameer's post, which is how is the business going to react with regards to changing the performance management and measurement practices in place where it's currently only rewarding the individual vs. the group. That's going to be a fundamental shift towards that networked / community driven model and what will confirm that final frontier of business transformation... We are only just getting started ;-)

Sameer Patel
Sameer Patel

Not sure its really moved on. It should have by now. But regardless, I agree, I cant wait for that moment as well. 

Sameer Patel
Sameer Patel

Hey Luis,  I cant believe I wrote about this topic and didn't reference your work. Thanks a lot for the comment. Im not contesting whether email should be replaced at all. Its as painful for me as it is for the next guy. My goal was to spark a conversation about how we try different things to make this transition faster. I dont believe were at a point where your usage patters are even slightly close to being replicated at scale but you know that I admire you're tenacity to make the change. For the rest, whist no doubt that its a human/change management issue, I do believe that technology can do much better to make this transformation real and sustainable.We'll get there. Even in my personal social network usage Ive turned off 99% of email notifications and rely on my phone for those so as to remove clutter. But to move meaningful work out of email, we need to stop thinking of messaging as one platform and applications as another. Piece by piece well dismantle email's dominance and you know I'll support your efforts every chance I get. -)

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

Hi Alan, I am afraid I would have to disagree with you on that argument that "social" creates more of a headache than email ever did. I would surely make a distinction between what happens in the Social Web and what happens with Enterprise Social Software. They are two completely different beasts, to the point where I'm starting to think that so-called social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so forth are merely publishing and broadcasting mechanisms lacking what I feel is fundamental for a ESN to flourish and become a true collaborative, open, and transparent network: purpose. None of those social networking tools was ever meant to be used as a social network, never mind, to conduct work. It's us, humans, once again, taking things for the extreme and think we can turn everything into work related stuff, even if it wasn't designed for. You yourself have indicated in numerous times how lacking Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even G+ are as collaborative platforms and I would tend to agree with you on that argument. Why? They were never meant to in the first place!  Look into the ESN space, as well as you do and have done over the years, and you would agree with me the landscape is completely different in there. I have never felt overwhelmed by my internal interactions on social networks and yet externally it's often the case, because I just can't do many of the simple things I could *even* do with email :) Let's not compare pears with apples, please ;-)

Joachim Stroh
Joachim Stroh

I think these "headaches" come from things that are relevant but used to be invisible (to the majority); once they become visible, they need to be addressed. The other kind of headache (things that are not relevant become visible) is an adjustment (of our tools and work habits, you've talked a lot about this). Here's a graphic to visualize this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100641053530204604051/posts/WeAA2VQTeYV

Sameer Patel
Sameer Patel

Agree Mark. I believe thats underway and yeah, I totally plan to have fun with it.:) Ultimately we wont win against email via a full frontal assault. If we design and pick technology well, well look back and see how were relying less and less on email. It has to be earned. 

Larry Hawes
Larry Hawes

You've hit on the real challenge – how to facilitate the behavioral changes in the existing workforce so we can improve organizational communication and collaboration now. That's a tough nut to crack, but integrating relevant tools into enterprise applications is a good place to start. We can design our computing tools to reshape workers' behaviors, as you are doing at SAP with Jam. And I'm not just talking about gamification, although that does have a role to play here. Rather, meaningful integration of communication and collaboration services into existing applications, as you called for in your post, is what is needed. As Luis noted, the other lever to pull from a management perspective is the HR element of goals and compensation. We need to set expectations for, and reward, the behaviors we wish to see in and between organizations. That's why I'm so excited that HR departments are becoming more involved in the conversation. Without their participation, we have a disasterous mismatch between our vision of a collaborative organization and the reality of daily work.

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

Ohhh, but aren't they already? Latest demographics I read about (Wish I could find the link again), millennials are already outnumbering rest of generations at work. It's just that it's not equally distributed and we, our generation and older generations, haven't done enough to challenge the status quo of how certain things have operated for them to truly shine... As an example, over here in Spain, I am surely you are all aware about our youth unemployment rate that just reached over 56% of under 25. The numbers are there, it is just that we are *not* letting them get into the corporate world, because we keep insisting on clinging to our well known, and established position of power and control. Clock is ticking and don't have much time left, I am afraid. Need to be more proactive in preparing that knowledge workforce, before we ostracise it enough we lose it for good... Yes, I know, talking about a bigger / higher mission... :)

Joachim Stroh
Joachim Stroh

Totally agree, Sameer. The mainstream discussion and use has not moved on. But I think we've recognized the issues pretty well by now and struggle with the (current) solution sets. 

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

Hi Sameer, thanks a bunch for the follow-up comment! Excellent additions, as usual, into the overall conversation! Not to worry about not referencing that work. I am totally fine with it. In fact, when it's not referenced anymore it's when it's become mainstream ;-) (In a way hehe) [j/k] 100% in agreement with how we can make the transition faster and, once again, while technology can play a key role to make it happen, I suspect it's down to our habits at the end of the day. If you look into it, right from the start, email has never been associated much as a business process, yet it's *the* main tool that we all use to bypass a business process with an exception. It's a rather worthy "exception handler", from that perspective. It's how we have hacked around our business processes over the course of decades and I guess that's the stage that social networking tools could reach in order to blend nicely with business processes: that those social technologies become "exception handlers", but with a slight twist from what email has done for us so far, and which has been hinted as well by Joachim on his comment shared above: social networking tools as exception handlers where openness, publicy and transparency will rule, more than obscure, obsolete, opaque, private exception handlers that email kept promoting time and time again.  That's essentially the transition I have done myself with the vast majority of the interactions I do with my immediate and not so immediate teams and it's worked wonders on opening up, narrate more of their / our work, and become more transparent on what we do. End result? People trusting each other much more :) W.r.t. #lawwe, yes, we have not reached a mass scale and replicate it just yet, but it's not needed. 5 years ago when I started, it was just me living it. Now (Very soon I will be sharing more details on this very same topic!) there are hundreds, if not thousands of people, doing it already, just like I am, perhaps not at that extreme level, but with substantial results. Thus it's eventually picking up enough momentum to enter the realms of scale. It's just a matter of time, and if there is anything that I know and have learned from the past, is that I have got lots of time still ahead of me to see it happen :) hehe One step at a time, one firm at a time, one knowledge worker group at a time… 100% in agreement as well with stop thinking about messaging and applications as two different platforms. It's happening in a way with social networking tools, too! And that's perhaps where technology can have that quality leap we have all been anticipating all along and helps break that barrier, build the bridge to connect the two and to essentially become one. Just *the* one. For instance, the piece of work you folks are doing at SAP has been tremendous and incredibly inspiring of showing the potential of what happens when crystallised. I just can't wait for other large vendors to learn, adapt, mimic the leading example(s) of folks like yourselves at SAP to show it's possible.  Now more than ever! Keep pushing, my friend! Keep pushing!  [Right behind ya!]

Alan Lepofsky
Alan Lepofsky

Sorry, I don't think this is pears to apples at all.  Many of the struggles with external social networks occur in internal social networks as well. I've received incredible feedback at every conference, event, customer advisory sessions I've spoken at regarding "social fatigue". Typical employees (not you or I) are already becoming overwhelmed with the information being shared in internal streams. 

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

I know, Sameer, and that's the reason why I am spending this time adding my ¢2 into the conversation and away from the traditional 140 character blast of this is a great blog post hehe Time to revert back into pure conversation delight, something I decided I'd be focusing on plenty more this year in blogs and G+ as you well documented recently... Thanks much for hosting it and for allowing us to expand further! Looking forward to the follow-up! 

Sameer Patel
Sameer Patel

How i got so fortunate to have such meaty comments that can be posts in and of them selves, I dont know but thanks a lot to you and everyone for taking the time. I will do a follow up post to this for sure. You know me, I came out of the gate pushing ever since the first post on this blog. I dont now any other way. :  )

Larry Hawes
Larry Hawes

Agree that it's not pears to apples and that information overload is very real in most businesses. Part of the solution is helping workers understand what should be shared, and why, when they are working. Without that knowledge, people will continue to share important information out of context or disseminate irrelavent information, no matter which communication tool they use. Worse yet, they may shut down and not share anything.

Luis Suarez (@elsua)
Luis Suarez (@elsua)

That's probably because they have been taught over and over again that they need to be in every place 24x7 over-sharing at a rather rampant pace without even *thinking* whether what they do matters to them or not on a personal / work level, therefore becoming another marketing machine / channel, but on social channels. Rather disappointing from that perspective, Alan, that we have underestimated educating knowledge workers on how to use these social technologies more effectively, just like we didn't with email and why we have got plenty of the problems from today. And in that case, who is to blame? The tools or the people who constantly want to over-impose their agendas on others to have them as their amplified voices? No need to answer that one, it's got already a clear answer on your comments above, and in that case I wouldn't necessarily blame the tools, just like I don't blame email as the  system, but more ourselves for not having done a much proper job of helping folks cope with that social fatigue or perhaps not have it altogether!  And then it feels like we are living an echo chamber where social seems to be the fix for everything, eh? Well, not really. *We* are the echo chamber, not the tools, because we haven't changed our mindset and our ability to acquire healthier habits when interacting and collaborating online. So, let's not blame the tools, once again, but more our very own behaviours... and, more importantly, let's keep questioning how we can fix ourselves, while technology keeps aiming at being that enabler we all know we need to move along...  W.r.t. your tweet shared earlier on RE: "Time to think beyond the echo chamber. "Social" is not always the answer that some people think it is" > I couldn't have agreed more with you on it, which is why I have started my own exploration process further along entering Open Business, as I have recently blogged over here. Not sure where it will take me, but, for sure, the journey so far has been fascinating and I'm still enjoying last vacation day today :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: