"Well, as of this moment, they're on double-secret probation!"
Dean Wormer, Faber College
Recently I have had a number of conversations regarding the role of pre-moderation of internal social networks. Just by way of explanation, pre-moderation would be the approval of all content (posts and comments) prior to posting. Over the past several years and hundreds of conversations with enterprise clients, this has rarely come up.
Just to be clear, there is risk associated with enterprise social networking. There is nothing about social technologies that precludes requirements for privacy, security, maintenance of intellectual capital, regulatory compliance, etc. However, given the right degree of attention, these all are manageable. In fact, over time, social technologies will reduce the risk associated with all of these (more on that later).
OK, so if anyone can say anything at anytime, that's risky right? Well, in thoery, but in reality, not really. Remember, we're talking about internal social networks. Presumably, these are IT sanctioned, authenticated solutions. In other words, everyone knows who you are. And, we can assume that with some degree of planning and education, your users will be aware of the policies that govern the environment. And if you post something not within policy, well you get put on probation (or maybe double-secret probation). Animal House references aside, many a fine internal social networking policy begins with "don't do anything that will get you fired".
There are three key points here:
One, provide a sanctioned solution for your organization because if you don't they may well find something on their own and that could be a whole different kind of trouble.
I've recently found myself in interesting discussions--one might call some of them debates--about ROI and Social Media. In recent weeks, Social Media ROI was the agenda for meetings with several clients, the focus of a panel on which I participated at Digiday Social, and a lively topic of discussion at a dinner of marketing leaders in town for the OMMA Global event. And today I read an article about Wal-Mart that got me to thinking about the dangers of too narrowly defining ROI.
It's interesting to hear the wide range of attitudes toward social media ROI. Some companies measure quite a bit about their social media activities but do not evaluate ROI in its most literal definition: The financial return generated by a specific monetary investment. Others go through a great deal of effort to measure ROI, creating complex models to calculate an approximation of financial return.
Some in the direct marketing space are beginning to value their social media efforts much as they do their PPC campaigns--assessing the cost of participation compared to the clicks, conversions and sales generated from trackable links seeded into tweets and Facebook posts. This sort of measurement is essential and inevitable for companies that sell direct to consumers, but it's important companies not become overly narrow and begin to assess social media as just another click-generating channel.
Plenty has been said today about how Nestle failed. But I keep thinking about another question, “Is it too late for Nestle?” And maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I don’t think it is. Nestle still has a chance to shape the tone of the discussion by sharing next steps in social communities. Interestingly, Nestle did respond to the Greenpeace allegations in a March 18 statement on its website, and they told traditional media outlets on Friday that they would remove a questionable supplier from all parts of their (very complex) supply chain by mid-May. But that word isn’t getting out - Clearly, traditional outreach isn’t enough. Bjorn Edlund, former EVP of Communications for Shell, joked at Friday’s conference: “The best way to hide data is to put it on your corporate website.” Case in point.
I thought I would expand a little on my aside comment in last week's blog which was actually about HP. In the introduction to the blog I noted that we analysts seem to be abusing Twitter. I was so provocative that I named my colleagues “adolescent journalists” because they broadcast tweets ad verbatim as the HP speakers went through their presentations. I have noticed this has gotten progressively more (as far as I am concerned, worse and worse) over the last 12 months at various analyst retreats.
Many of these colleagues have responded to my blog and basically asked “What’s your problem with this?” Well, I certainly do not want to be seen as a “grumpy old man” (though I love those books) - ie. Someone who is not up to the times. While I am turning 54 years of age today, I think I do understand Twitter, and use it; and I think I can blog adequately as well. Then again, we analysts at Forrester have been well trained by our Marketing analyst colleagues who are at the forefront of all these developments. Our latest research on “Using Twitter for eBusiness” discusses how companies use Twitter but it doesn’t address the usage I am on about here. So, the issues I have with our just typing in every 140 characters of whatever the person on the stage is saying is as follows:
I swore that I was not going to say anything further. I really, really tried, but I'm going to have to throw away the little plastic medal that says, "Two Weeks And No Buzz." Here's a must-read quote that a colleague forwarded to me:
So why exactly did Google Buzz launch with some key social features missing? Jackson said that while Google employees were testing out the product internally, they never had much desire to mute any of their coworkers, and that their email contact list closely matched the people they wanted to follow on Buzz. Obviously, that wasn’t true for most people once the product was released outside of the Googleplex. Which is why Google is considering pre-releasing new Buzz features to a few thousand opt-in users long before they’re rolled out to the public.
The short version: "It worked for us inside the firewall, so we never thought it'd have a problem outside the firewall." Of course, an enterprise collaboration tool is a wholly different kind of solution than a social networking tool, so the requirements for the former do not completely cover the latter.
In three days, it will be the two year anniversary of my first blog post on Experience: The Blog. Originally intended to be an exploration of experiential marketing strategies, my interest and focus quickly turned to social media and how the growth of the peer-to-peer groundswell creates challenges and opportunities for marketers. It is apt to recall how my blog started as one thing and became another, because change is in the air again. I'd like to reflect on that change, put it into context and invite you to join me as I shift my blog publishing to a new address.
A month ago, news broke that Forrester would be altering its blog policies and analysts would shift their industry-related blogging into a new, common platform on Forrester.com. I posted at the time that I believed aggregating Forrester's thought leadership in one place made sense and that I was eager to continue blogging, sharing news and building my reputation within the new Forrester blog.
The reaction was swift and emotional. Hundreds of tweets and blog posts weighed in on the topic; a few supported the new blogging policies, but most did not. One person tweeted I was "licking the boots of (my) corporate paymasters," and a friend sent heartfelt condolences at the loss of my blog. I ignored the tweet and assured my friend that I was not progressing through any of the stages of grief (unless bemusement was one of those stages.)
Ever since I first started working with online social communities I've been thinking about just what it is that makes some communities successful while others fizzle and die. In particular I'm curious why collaboration communities seem to be so hard to make work.
While doing recent research on social computing initiatives I got to thinking on this problem again. Recently I made the connection to Abraham Maslow's work on the hierarchy of needs:
Maslow suggested all people are motivated by a desire to fulfill basic human needs in an ascending hierarchy. He also suggested that unless the lower-order needs are fulfilled, the higher-order needs are not motivators of behavior.
The primary needs Maslow identified fall into five groups:
Until now, geolocation has been one of those quaint, semi-useful buzzwords: '... now with geolocation!!!' Twitter, Buzz and Foursquare -- the main exponents of exposing your location -- might not be small, but they pale in comparison to Facebook. With the announcement that Facebook will be enabling geolocation next month, Pandora's Box has been torn open; whether you like it or not, geolocation is about to become a huge part of your life.
We don't normally draw attention to things like this (changing our underlying platform technology), but in this case, there are some key differences in capabilities, that you need to know about so you can benefit from them. As you already know if you've been following the Application Development & Program Management blog, we have a team of analysts who are already active bloggers. But in the past, it may have been challenging, if you were particularly interested in following the posts of one analyst, to do that in amongst the posts from the rest of the team.
So I'm thrilled that we now have individual blogs for all the analysts on the team, too. Everything blogged by the team also rolls up into the team-level blog, which is a good place to hang out if you're following several analysts on the team, have more eclectic interests around application development and delivery, or just want to be tuned in to what's going on across the team.
Another great innovation (for you) of our new platform is that blog pots are now presented with only summary information showing in the initial view. Only after you choose to drill down on a post do you see the whole thing. This makes it easier to look through several posts, whether on an analyst or team blog, and find just the stuff you care about.
And now for a few words from Cliff Condon, the Forrester exec who leads our social computing initiative of which this new platform is a part, on Forrester blogs and what it means for you:
Everyone’s welcome here. Forrester analysts use blogs as an input into the research they produce, so having an open, ongoing dialogue with the marketplace is critical. Clients and non-clients can participate – so I encourage you to be part of the conversations on Forrester blogs.
Actually, I should say, welcome to the Forrester community. The revamped blogs are one facet of Forrester's investment in social media as the conduit for two-way conversation with clients and non-clients alike.
One obvious change: Browsing around, you can easily access an analyst's individual blog, or the role blog, or the client group's blog, or everyone's Forrester blog. As brilliant as I think my own posts are, my colleagues often have much smarter things to say than I do. Please take advantage of the new way to browse through the conversations happening across Forrester. (But come back here when you're done.)