Blog Carolinas Information Release

Blog Carolinas

A Conversation about Social Media in the Enterprise

  • See how Social Media is impacting your Marketing and Communications Strategy
  • Learn how Community can serve as a model to improve your organization’s productivity
  • Meet others that are dealing with the same issues you are.
  • Talk to experts in the fields of On Line Reputation, Search Engine Optimization, Web 2.0 Technology and On Line Community Building
  • Experience cool new stuff

Event Details

Date: May 9, 2008

Location: (Map)

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
3106 East NC Highway 54
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
800-243-6534/919-549-4691

How to Register

You can register for the event at: http://blogcarolinas.eventsbot.com
Blog Carolinas is a free event but is limited to about 200 attendees, therefore registration is necessary to attend.

Sessions & Format

Scheduled sessions include:

  • Listening to the Conversation about your Organization
  • Engage your Customers in Conversation
  • How is Social Media changing PR?
  • Recruiting Digital Natives
  • Be Prepared, Sharing Information is a Culture Shift

All sessions will be conversational, no long boring Powerpoint presentations.

Confirmed Session Leaders include:

Who Should Attend

The objective of this event is to begin bridging the gulf that currently exists between the current developers/users of Social Media tools and those organizations that have not yet adopted those tools. Each group has much to learn from the other, and a conversation is the best way to begin to build that bridge. So there are really two audiences for this event:

  • People that are currently familiar with Social Media, and want to see it used more effectively in professional and organizational settings.
  • People that do not currently use Social Media, but have heard from friends and main stream media that it may be of benefit to their organization.

So let’s start a conversation…

More information about the event can be found at: http://www.socialtext.net/blogcarolinas

(Disclosure: Blog Carolinas is being produced and hosted by E Quint Consulting.)

Enterprise 2.0, meet Social Media Monitoring

I am a huge believer in the potential of Enterprise 2.0, the set of Web 2.0 tools targeted for use inside the organization. Others have delivered excellent examples and descriptions of Enterprise 2.0 and how it can bring value to an organization (Andrew McAfee, Chris Brogan, & Scott Gavin, among others) . Unfortunately the vendors that are developing and delivering these tools have not yet discovered the secret sauce that has customers beating down their doors. The typical IT shop has not yet “seen” the ROI. The typical business user doesn’t even know these tools are available.

The problem is that no one gets passionate over platforms (i.e.tools). If I want to build a new house, I don’t really care that Senco has just released the world’s coolest nail-gun. I want to see the blueprint, something that shows me what I am going to get. It is very hard for a business client to see how end-user publishing, tagging and social bookmarking leads to an improved bottom line. Enterprise 2.0 currently represents potential, not fulfillment.

Enterprise 2.0, let me introduce you to Social Media Monitoring.

Social Media Monitoring is another business service that has yet to break through; a lot of potential, but you don’t hear about it too often on the Nightly Business Report. It is a little known secret that there are over 125 pure-play companies globally in this market segment, just ask Nathan Gilliatt, he specializes in tracking it. They all have amazing potential to generate detailed content about your company and your brand. The problem is that even though they deal with social media daily, most of them haven’t embraced the underlying theme of social media, that being, information wants to be shared. A typical Social Media Monitoring report is a PDF file. How 1.0 is that?!? Yes, many of them do provide nice dashboards with nice graphics, but it is still delivered to the client on a limited per seat license. This information enters the organization through a very small pinhole, gets used once for a specific tactical project, and then is buried in a file somewhere.

If we can get the Enterprise 2.0 platform builders together with the Social Media Monitoring content providers, we can deliver something that customers will finally sit up and take notice of. Just imagine a daily dose of customer insight embedded directly into your collaboration tools. An organization’s ability to innovate will accelerate, their ability to respond to market changes will be unprecedented, their understanding of their customer will move to another level. These are the things that grab attention, these are the things that businesses need to address.

One easy example is Customer Service 2.0. Consider a world where a customer with an issue merely has to post their problem on their own blog or any discussion forum and the company will find it and resolve it. You will have removed the burden from the customer of figuring out HOW to complain. Sounds a lot like Doc Searls VRM project to me. And this is just one example. What other opportunities can you think of?

What’s Next?

I have discussed this idea with vendors on both sides of the equation, and they both agree, this type of partnership between content and platform could be the thing that moves the 2.0 evolution beyond Silicon Valley and into mainstream business practice.

What’s a Community Architect?

Since I started using the phrase Community Architect the other day, I have been trying to figure out how to explain what one is in a pragmatic way. Or, in other words; what do I deliver?; what is my product?

The first thought that has come to mind is that my deliverable to a client is a Community Blueprint. Development of the blueprint would involve several stages which would define the activity of the engagement. The components of the Blueprint (or whatever product name I settle on) will include:

  • Goal definition – A conversation with the Sponsor of the initiative to determine what they are ultimately trying to achieve. Setting of objectives.
  • Environmental assessment – Review of the current situation, internal and external, with respect to the goal and objectives defined
  • Stakeholder engagement – An active process of bringing all stakeholders (or representatives of all stakeholder groups) into the conversation. Stakeholders will begin using light-weight community based tools at this point in order to see and understand first-hand the concepts of community based collaboration.
  • Roadmap Creation – The process by which stakeholders will identify processes, structures and behaviors necessary to meet goal and objectives.
  • Tool selection – The process by which stakeholders identify specific tools, and vendors that will allow the Roadmap to be implemented.
  • Construction – Setting up the tool infrastructure.
  • Habitation – With the tools in place, the process of encouraging use of the community.
  • Final Inspection – Review with the sponsors to confirm that goal and objectives have been met.

If you will notice, this approach does not distinguish between building a community that is fundamentally internal or external to the boundaries of the enterprise. My belief here is that most communities will span that divide, making such distinction irrelevant. But in those cases where a true internal or external community is prescribed, the process should still be valid.

The Practice of Community

In 1954 Peter Drucker published the Practice of Management. It is considered by many, myself included, to be the seminal work about the nature of organizations in the 20th century. I once read that he spent much effort in naming his book before settling on “Practice” as the key word in the title. My recollection is that he considered ” The Art of Management”, “The Science of Management”, and “The Theory of Management” among others. He decided that “Practice” best described the concept he was after. It is something that we are continually learning and trying to improve by trying it out, or practicing it. So with great homage to Mr. Drucker, I am introducing The Practice of Community.

My definition of community is “the integration of the many into the one”. I will expand on this theme and its broad implications, over time. For now I just want to frame up what this means for me and E Quint Consulting.

NOW I have the elevator speech I have been looking for:

Other person in the elevator: “So, what do you do?”

Me: “I facilitate the development of community as an organizational structure within organizations.”

Other person in the elevator: “Cool! Tell me more about that.”

…or something like that. 🙂

Basically what this means is that I can talk about what is happening all around us with regard to social media, enterprise 2.0, WOM, etc. within the single context of community, where all of these instances are simply examples of “the integration of the many into the one”.

From this basis I see many themes that I want to develop:

  • The cognitive dissonance that occurs when organizations attempt “community” marketing while operating internally as an authoritarian hierarchy.
  • The practice of community is about continually working to include the next the next layer “outside” into the whole.
  • The “tools” of community, both new and old.
  • Why is community a viable organizational model “now”?
  • Can community and hierarchy co-exist?
  • Examples of community that can serve as models for the enterprise.

If you see anything you like here, please take it and run with it and give me a link. Remember this is just one big community. 😉

My new job title: Community Practitioner.

Branding E Quint

Ever since I started thinking about starting my own consulting practice, I have been talking to people to get advice. The one bit of advice I have been getting consistently is to be able to clearly, and quickly, state what irt is that I do (or will do). I am finding that to not be an easy task.

What I know is that there is an opportunity to help organizations rethink their structure and processes. Now I am not the first person to see this, …duh. So the question is what am I bringing to the table? My first response was Social Media expertise. But I think that terminology is going to give me problems on two counts. First, I think it is a difficult conceptual jump for most people to go from Organizational design to Social Media. Secondly, I think the term Social Media is always going to conjure up visions of technology.

So I think I am going to steal a page from the Citizen Agency playbook and start thinking in terms of Community.

Re-Imagine the Organization as Community

My elevator pitch? Let’s take a shot …

I am a consultant that works with organizations to help them look at their structure, processes and culture from a community perspective. I want organizations to consider all of their stakeholders as a single community as opposed to discreet constituents or demographic groups. I want organizations to move away from the traditional “Us vs. Them” mentality: management vs. employees, marketing vs. engineering, customers vs. customer service. I want to see an engaged conversation between stakeholders. And lastly, I want to help facilitate that change.

What do you think?

Re-Imagine HR

I did a blog search on “issues in HR” the other day and the results were much as I suspected. The big issue that came up time and again was finding key talent. My own experience indicates that recruiters are, in fact, leading the way for adoption of social media in the HR world.

But let’s look at this a little deeper…

Let’s say an organization does a great job of finding the best talent by virtue of their excellent use of social networking. Now they have all of these hot new hires, what next? Once inside the organization, your “leaders of the future” are typically faced with a very traditional, hierarchical organization. If this “hot new talent” is buried under bureaucracy and fighting turf wars, is the organization really making the best use of their abilities.

Come to think of it, maybe we had the right talent on board all along, it was just inaccessible due to the prevailing culture. So let’s take a look at that culture (that is so prevalent in most organizations today).

In almost every organization I am familiar with the things that are rewarded include:

  • Performance (beating your peers)
  • Expertise (hording information)
  • Managing (telling others what to do)

Very seldom do I see sharing, collaboration, or stewardship at the top of the list of how organizations actually behave. I wonder why…? …can you say “compensation and reward systems”?!?

My point here is that organizations are not going to get better and smarter simply by hiring new islands of knowledge. Organizations need to learn how to build better boats for traveling between islands, and this starts with getting people to want to build boats. By re-imagining how we recognize excellence, we can begin to see sharing, collaboration and stewardship as the driving traits of an organization.

If, and when, this happens, employees will be begging for the tools that facilitate those processes. The technology to do so will simply be an implementation tactic.

Organizations may come to find that they had the key talent in place all along…duh!

New Series

I have had a little writer’s block lately on this blog. Couldn’t decide how to move forward. I think I have finally have found my way.

Introducing:

Re-Imagine: The Series

A lot of my conversations lately have been around the concepts I recently posted in this blog and on Slideshare, specifically that Social Media is going to change the landscape of all functional areas of the organization, not just Marketing. In these conversations I keep coming back to a central theme. The changes we are about to see are fundamentally NOT about technology (as most references to Enterprise 2.0 seem to be) but ARE about structure, process and behavior (SP&B). Ultimately implementation tactics may present as technology solutions, but I believe that in almost all instances the real solutions will be manifest in new SP&B.

With this thought in mind, I plan on starting a series of posts that look at the issues faced by different functional areas within the organization and discuss how these issues can be addressed with a Social Media approach, focusing on Structure, Process &Behavior.

My first post in the series will look at Human Resources… stay tuned.