Sunday, October 21, 2012

I don't understand social business...

"I really don't get it" said a colleague. "it does not wow me." "May be I am slow, tell me what value does it add in the work context?" Some confess "I am not using social media in my personal live, I am not sure I can manage it at work..." I know a lot of friends who are interested in the potential power of using social platform in the business setting, however, they have not experienced its power yet and they are not sure where to start. To help to make it real, I look for great videos to explain the concept, read books, mckinsey's research report (unlocking the value of social business) and thought leadership blog (@johnstepper, @euan), collect use cases where it work for companies, and I share those stories. I realise no matter how much I try to say, and try to explain the value that embracing social platform can brings to companies, and how much I try to explain how twitter or LinkedIn or blogging works, the starting position has always been positioning my colleague (who is willing to learn) to look from "outside" in, as if social platform can be learned objectively and experience as an outsider (perhaps even like an objective scientist) trying to understand how it all works. What is missing? Unless one swim in it, you will never get it. Trying to teach people conceptually how twitter or blogsphere work is really pointless. The best training manual wont cut it. To really learn how social media works for you personally, you have to look at it from "inside", ie look inside in. Why? Because social platform is personal. Try look at your friend's or colleague's activity stream or twitter homepage, it makes no sense to you and it is full of noise. Of course, they are not meant for you to consume or interact with. When you start to share your thoughts, and when you receive responses and comments to the area which interest you (personally and/or professionally) and you truly care about, you will get your first aha moment. Until then, you will continue to observe as an outsider and wonder what's in it for me. Do you agree with me? leave me a comment here.


lapsaptong said...

Hey Bonnie
I agree with you; enterprise social networking is not something that people grasp conceptually; even they are playing around with it in their private life.
I prefer to call it social collaboration and try to focus on the impact in their daily work environment. For example, in our KM team we are sharing news and links socially; project members can post a status and the project team is following; in a community of practice, people can follow the internal experts and pick up news, projects, solutions in their field of work. Basically, all these activities are replacing e-mail which have a limited (uncontrollable) scope. Social collaboration creates a transparency and flexibility many people in our company quickly understand.
And yes, they need to do it in order to see the benefit.
What do you think?

Bonnie Cheuk said...

Thanks for leaving your thoughts here. I think knowledge workers/managers may perceive they are not ready to enbrace social collaboration platform at work because they think they are not familiar with the tools. However, the tools are the least worry, because they are meant to be easy to use - easy to publish, easy to share, easy to find, easy to follow. If you can manage email or Word processor, you can use social tools. It is difficult to see how it adds value to our day-to-day work, because we have been doing work/communicating in the same way for a long time at work, therefore, we feel so comfortable with our habits, and become complacent to make any changes even if the way we work is no longer suitable for a modern networked world. Learning to embrace social collaboration platform requires making a conscious decision/effort to change ones behaviour and habits. This is never straight forward and easy. It is just the way human beings evolve and innovate.... Once we take the first step, we realize it is not as difficult as we think, the second step is easier and soon it become how work get done.... we will get there. Every example that you/we share in how business embrace social and the value it adds help others to see the possibilities and help others take the first step.... Tks for sharing. Are there other examples anyone want to share?