Live blogged from the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston
From the program – Understanding the intangible aspects of how to share information and connect with one another is often an overlooked aspect of projects rolling out social network sites. Communities and social networks are environments where participation is largely voluntary when compared to other business applications. As organizations consider Corporate Facebook sites, success factors have little to do with technology: – What user experience considerations are critical? – What practices encourage participation and contributions? – How should management concerns be addressed? In this panel session, Principal Analyst Mike Gotta of Burton Group will moderate a discussion with practitioners involved in social networking projects.
Mike Gotta, Principal Analyst, Burton Group
Dan McCall, Project Manager, Genentech
Erik Johnson, General Manager, cubeless, Sabre Holdings
Kishan Mallur, Director, Information Technology, Infrastructure Services, Harvard University
The three keys to adopting of community sites? Simplicity – Ease of use – Engagement.
How to meet privacy requirements across different geographies and jurisdictions? Obviously much easier for inwards facing communities but even then there are different privacy requirements in different countries. Have a base level of information and make further information optional – Genentech allows users to change their own profile pictures and this has created additional buy in. Keep official directory of records and social networks separate – allow employees on social networks to represent to each other how they see their role, this is different from a formal employee record where job titles and descriptions are more formalised – the comparison gives users some useful context.
Burton group disallows anonymous posting or pseudonyms and relies on the community itself to moderate the content that appears – “it’s amazing how much having CEO level access to a social network moderates the content posted on it (although I’m not sure if this is a good thing – isn’t the idea of social networks to allow for free ranging thinking, unencumbered by organisational imperatives? – ed.)
Reach out to existing communities of interest to drive adoption – Harvard has a large number of craftspeople so reached out to them to seed the community. Who would have thought a Harvard University knitting group would replace physical meetups with virtual ones?
Pre determine community champions to answer the initial questions until critical mass is reached and the community self-perpetuates. Find the “cool people” and get their buy-in – that then creates the evangelists going forwards. Give away the ownership so that the community doesn’t hinge on only one person – avoid the “Steve Jobs Factor”.
Who “owns” the platform? A difficult problem – the community needs to know that there is someone to go to when there are problems (e need for an owner) but at the same time need to feel a sense of ownership and autonomy (ie community owned).
Try and find suites that tightly integrate discrete offerings for corporate social networking sites – blogs, wikis, forums, micro blogging etc.
Thoughts around posting of inappropriate material – suggestion that fear of that is similar to fear of being attacked by a shark – highly unlikely. Genentech approaches it from a “base values” perspective – their social network is called GenePool and they tell their users “don’t pee in the pool”.
Discussion about sensitive topics (religion, sex etc etc)? Primarily it’s about trusting your users, setting a community culture and allowing for self-regulation. Thereafter a soft touch is sometimes needed to keep things “seemly”.
Sabretown has three community roles – content manager, “shady” administrator (for marginal/reported content) and lastly user administrator for updating community member records.