Social media within the enterprise suffers from being tools with mass appeal on the web. As a matter of fact, on the web everything relies on people’s will who let their needs drive their actions. One of the main drivers is pleasure and self satisfaction to join a group in order to do what we’re interested in. As people can continue or stop when they want they play the game, because they can decide not to come or leave when they want. So you’ll tell me there are 90% lurkers on online networks. It’s logical : they come randomly, just to try or because google took them there, they take what they want and they go. They are not inactive : they take and they go without giving back.
This approach seems to have prevailed in the first times of social medi within the enterprise. Willing to reproduce what’s happening on the web, enterprises wre focused on the user level. Seeing it works randomly, they focused on managers…and so on. Now we have the proof it concerns top level managers, executives. Quite a paradox for practices which are supposed to be user centric but the facts are obvious : users don’t want to take the ledership (or perharps they just can’t).
The reason is obvious : goals were totally neglected and were confused with means one more time.
In their sprivate sphere, people choose their goals. Networks are onlu means.
Who decides the goals in an enterprise ? according to what ? So you can say if enterprise’s goals are coherant, people should adopt the same beviors as on the net.
Not either ! Within the enterprise people don’t either choose their means. Perhaps we can fix all that by providing the right means ? Not either, because when I say “means” I think about both technical and organizational means. The way people work together, the autonomy they have in their day to day job, the culture that impacts their behaviors are not their responsability eiher.
Let’s admit everything is fixed up. The system can work . Yes but we may encounter a last barrier : the way people involve themselves and use the means depends on their will and their own goals within the organisation.
Tho make it short : we can copy and paste a mono-goal user driven system in a multi-goals context which is driven by strategy.
So we have to ask ourserlves, in the one hand, what are the organization’s goals, and in the other hand, provide people with relevant means in order to fulfill these goals. A good example is given by this survey on 01net : one the main barriers to 2.0 adoption is lack of visibility on how it impacts business and matches with needs. Believe me, I also have many examples where visibility was there. With a common denominator : everythng started from strategy and they worked and aligning practices and tools with strategy.