Tech 621 Lesson’s Learned – Ent 2.0 : Culture & a desire to Collaborate

After a semester in the trench, and now coming up from “the field” with some results to my brief research study – it seems that acceptance of Enterprise 2.0… or perhaps even Web 2.0 comes down to two key things based on my finds:

  1. The culture you live/work in
  2. The desire you (or your firm) has to collaborate with others

It sounds so simple, but simple rarely means easy.  It is simple for me to loose weight if I will just lay off the chips, walk 1/2 hour a day, and get my head in a positive mindset…  EASY???  uhhh, no – not really.

As I reflect back on the first days of class and re-read my first blog, I was coming from a place – a culture perhaps – that found little if any value in the Web 2.0 space.  I had observed its use by the so-called digital natives, and was not impressed at the value of Tweeting what you were eating where, incessantly checking Facebook for updates, or the need to spend hours creating “special” sites that reflected ones “unique image and personality”.  I came from a different time, and place  – a generation where efficiency, economy, and activity for PURPOSE was valued.  A place where the individual was not really viewed as unique at all – it was their contribution to the greater whole that gave them value.  Quite simply, the individual really didn’t matter, so why would I want to know what you were thinking, eating or listening to, 24/7?  What value could that possibly bring?

I cannot report that I am converted from my thinking entirely – that would just be a lie.  That said, the collaborative nature of Web 2.0 forced me into this alternative universe – this culture of intense sharing, exposing, listening.  Taking a moment (or for me, a semester) to examine how the tools, methods and ways of thinking/engaging MIGHT be used for the benefit of the “greater whole” lead me to really believe in Enterprise 2.0 – Web 2.0 for work.

I will forever be more of a listener than a Tweeter, a thinker rather than a blogger, a note taker that uses a pen and paper rather than Google docs, but thanks to my young friends and instructor in #tech621, I am definitely not relegated to the culture I once pledged allegiance to.  I value in a new and personal way, the fresh and lively exchanges that you have shared with me.  I have laughed until my face hurt at your inclass tweets, your LOL cats and your Vladerday photos.  I am forever beholding to the way each of you SHARED and collaborated with me to learn the tools, the terms, the sites and the right way to search using hashtags…  Lets face it, I now know what a hash tag is!!  BIG GROWTH for the gray haired GENXRECON!  You have reminded me through your actions how to simply listen and think without sharing is really an existence of isolation, with missed opportunities for learning, understanding and harvesting joy that can only come through developing a relationship… even if the relationship is born on Twitter : )

To value Web 2.0/Ent 2.0, you must have a sense of wonder, adventure and give value to the possibility of collaboration – the power of the individual to help create collective value through their own unique voice.

This morning I received a tweet to take a quiz on the kind of collaborator I was.  I was wishing I had taken it prior to the start of class, then again at the end to see what if any change had resulted.  That said, I smiled as I read the result summary which encouraged me to “spend more time in the system sharing and collaborating to set an example for your team”…  while also advising that I get along well with “the experts”.

Thank you – for being the experts that have enabled me to become an executive collaborator; never the ultimate Web/Ent2.0 user, but better informed, open and responsive to the possibilities.  I am not sure if this will be the last blog I ever write, but I am confident this will not be the last blog I read.

Until next – I will echo back to you the wisdoms you shared  and showed me over the months…

  • Never Tweet before coffee or after beer
  • Everyday is a day to celebrate Vladerday
  • It’s ok to try new things and fail – keep trying, you might find something that works in a way you never envisioned
  • If you need to blog it – then it matters, even if no one else comments
  • Tweet like your life  depends on … because sometimes your grade does!
  • A LOL cat can bring a smile to someone having a really crappy day
  • Gen Y’s are really special…listen & learn with them
Best to you all – THE GenXrecon
genxrecon’s Result: You’re the Executive.
on quiz: What Type of Collaborator Are You? (By Central Desktop)

What Matters? Thoughts In Anticipation of our Final Presentation

It was Steve Jobs who said the following…

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”   I am not sure he always spoke with such clarity – but this one is a good one to live by.

This quote spoke to me in anticipation of our final presentations this week as well.  What really mattered between the lines of text and figures in the research that we all poured over?  Is it something of value?  Are we satisfied with how it was completed, the results, what we learned?  Can we ever be satisfied with the work in progress we call our life work?  I am not sure.

That said, if in our project we learned about something truly interesting, if we managed to find even the smallest amount of curious joy in the process, then our work was a success and we should find satisfaction.  If not – keep looking.  Maybe it was just the wrong topic, the wrong method, a bad time for you.  Find what matters to you… and like Jobs said, you will know it when you find it.

The goal for me in this Friday’s presentation is to try and share the one nugget of gold “mined” from this term, and hopefully spark some interest and generate some curiosity.

This is your brain… this is your brain with tags…

After the blur of last night’s class and the jolt of this morning’s coffee, I actually think I am managing to muster a clear thought.  It goes something like this…

I spend a lot of time thinking about (and reading research on) how experts see the world; how they think, what they think about, and why they think about things that seem so “distant from” from what they are actually working on  – when solving problems.  I believe the notion of making thought processing explicit through tagging could really add value to understanding experts, how they associate seemingly dispirit information and draw analogies.

Part of the problem in this area of research has to do with experts’ inability to explicitly tell you the associations they are making; sometimes they don’t even know they are doing it.  Watching the tags of experts would allow us to travel the mindset of those people, and analyze (like google, Klout, and Amazon) what their NEXT thought, idea, preference or association might be.  I can see a lot of professional industrial application for this, especially as our workforce ages and the Millennial masses move in to replace the Baby Boomers.  How can we assist them in being successful?  I am wondering if tagging can help us with this…

The Organizing Power of Social Media

For this week’s class we read a variety of articles; from academic papers to pieces from Vanity Fair and everything in between.  The common thread between these disparate writing forms was the notion of the organizing power of social media.  While this was not the first time I had heard or read about social media being viewed as a change agent in enabling social change, there were a couple items that struck me as unique from a couple of these articles.

What is Occupy Wall Street – Washington Post :  “We are all leaders”… REALLY??

In the WP article, Social media was positioned as an enabler of participatory democracy; a vehicle for allowing a wide variety of voices/themes to unify for a cause, verses promotion of shouting over each other for their own selfish purpose. Further, this alternative media is represented as a virtual welcome mat for any would be causes looking for a means to join forces based on “principles of unity”; anti-authoritarian, anti-discrimination.

Up to the point that this article used the women’s rights movement of an example of a similar and “leaderless protest”, I was hanging with them.  Have they not heard of Gloria Steinem, renowned New York feminist and journalist who was the feminist spokesperson of the 60’s?  What about Carol Hanisch, considered a “radical feminist”, a member of New York’s Redstockings group?  She protested Miss American and certainly represented the women’s rights protests as a leader when she came up with the saying “The Personal is Political”.  We can all have voices… we cannot all be Leaders, just like we can all play in a football game, but that does not mean we are all winners when the clock ticks down to zero.

Social media does make for democratic prioritization of issues.  For me however, whether you are using social media or not, a leader to unify the issues is important, and if the cause is really a cause – a clear leader or set of leaders will emerge.  Social media provides the megaphone to the masses for these leaders, and the lack of a leader results in just a bunch of people shouting in the streets & Tweeting on line to themselves.

 Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky’s article was based on a sad story forced into the light of day by the organizing power of social media.  With a tone of irony, I say THANK GOD for social media in this case.  In this article, the words that resonated for me were…

Social tools do not create social /collective action, they merely remove the existing obstacles.

The old obstacles highlighted in this article were 1) the locality of information and 2) built in barriers preventing group sharing of information.  The notion that social media takes local information global seemed intuitive to me, but how that “globalness” results in totally re-constructing, the borders of organizations had completely eluded me.  Even more compelling was the idea that this restructuring cannot be contained by the “rules of the local”, because they no longer have any relevance or jurisdiction.  A curious quandary for organization rule makers and for sure – another opportunity for our WebLawyer.

Finally, the barrier breaking nature of social media to increase group sharing seems almost Sci-Fi when you think back to the days of clipping paper articles, making copies, and waiting for US Postal correspondence; frankly, in reflection, I had nearly forgotten just how long that cycle took.  In addition, back then when someone sent you a Xeroxed article on some topic, you always wondered if it was real – or if someone had doctored something up using the copier.  I suppose the same is true for the web and social media– you can make anything up and create WebPages out of thin air in minutes, but now so many people have access to the same set of information that the fakers are found out almost as quickly as they release their bogus info.

The bottom line for social media and the power to organize:  SM is a tool for informing, sharing and growing a cause; it breaks old paradigms but also creates a few new ones.  It is not a panacea but does allow us an opportunity to rethink boundaries of all kinds, including geographic, social, and political ones.

Online Identity Management – Crowd sourcing the Marketing Script

Reflections on our weekly readings on Identity Management… from an ENT2.0 perspective

Background 

When it comes to Enterprise 2.o and concerns for SM integration into the business environment, risk management issues reach the top of the list for concerns for using it and or excuses for avoiding it.  Of course this makes sense, as for many firms – their stock value is only as high as their customer’s regard for their brand.  In most traditional large firms, teams of marketing folks carefully craft the brand image, with skillfully chosen verbiage, logos, fonts and images to convey the essence of their product/service.  To use Goffman’s theater metaphor, this group of “insiders” might be seen to operate like a collaborating group of writers idealizing and producing a script for the inanimate actor… the brand.

While there are many “stage hands” behind the scenes that enable the brand to play its role as the scriptwriters intended, i.e. (designers, manufacturers, customer service support, logistics, etc.), for the most part – it is the marketing arm of the business, (with some occasional help and guidance from the legal department) that is either credited or cursed for the performance of the brand in the marketplace.  The brand image (i.e. identity), is what the marketing team says it is.

Leap forward

Consider now for a moment a brave new world; a business environment where due to transparency and accessibility of Ent. 2.0 tools, the script for the brand is in the hands of the entire firm (more or less).  Through tools that allow us to collaborate both inside and outside of the firm; with our business partners, customers and suppliers, the brand takes on the role as conceived, written and directed by all of the “stage hands” including marketing;  a sort of crowdsourced script for our actor the brand.  It is at this point, the lawyers and financial analyst responsible for risk management are all running for the doors and selling off their company stock.

Step back

The situation with this forward looking Ent 2.0 business environment is only scary, if we doubt the ability(skill/talent), credibility(maturity/wisdom), and intentions(understanding/ethics) of our workforce to effectively communicate brand value.

It is on that note that Ent 2.0, like other forms of social media, are not innately good or bad – they are rather tools for communicating that if improperly managed, can forever damage the identity of the brand (or person) behind them.  In that way, Ent 2.0/SM is no different than other forms of mass media… use them wisely, they are your friend – do otherwise, and you will be picking yourself up off of the Wallstreet trading floor with the other sell-offs.

Importance to Research & Interests

As was suggested by many of our readings, users of the tools should be carefully trained on the ramifications of information put forth; they need to be made aware of analogies like backstage/frontstage; policies for use and control need to be in place before the first Tweet, Blog or Wiki are created to mitigate risk and maximize reward.  In the busy-ness of doing work in the wide open space of social media/Ent 2.0, people need to be made aware and reminded of the need for a split identity.

As I move forward on my case studies, I will be looking for comments around policy and training to see if this idea of “preventative medicine” is part of the  Ent. 2.0 deployment mindset.  I will also look to see if there is any relationship between the absence of these policy and training perspectives and the success/failure/rejection of Ent 2.0.

Personal Identity

On a personal note, my approach for managing my identity online has been one of conservatism.  Essentially, if I control the amount of material associated with my identity out there, then the likelihood of a negative identity is reduced.  I frequently google various versions of my identity to see what comes up, and monitor that for appropriateness.  As is, I limit my web identity to my professional/academic identity or a “secret identity” that has no relation to me whatsoever, and leave the majority of my personal/private identity to be left invisible to the masses.  This is growing harder and harder to do, but I believe from the perspective of my own risk management, this is the right approach for me.

Researching Enterprise 2.0

My research project will involve developing an in-depth literature review on Enterprise 2.o integration into firms.

This extensive literature review will incorporate both academic publications as well as less formally published case studies related to how firms are integrating Ent. 2.0 technologies.  The goal of this literature review is to develop a clear understanding of “The current state of Ent. 2.0 at the firm level”.  The benefit of investigating case study research is that these studies allow the inclusion of multiple sources of evidence to investigate a given topic in a real life environment. (Yin, 1989).

Effort will be taken to accumulate the largest possible body of knowledge on the topic in order to enable proposal development for subsequent large-scale research as part of my dissertation research on knowledge transfer.  Depending on the volume of accumulated literature, it is conceivable that the deliverable could incorporate a proposed (or initiated) research design involving content analysis and/or use of Radian 6/Visible Technologies as the research methodology.

Yin, R. K. (1989). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. London: Sage Publications Inc.

Talking Cats, Teaching Dogs & feeling what it means to be TTT

You all know by now that I love a good title for my posts.  Something that might intrigue you to the point you will actually click, read, and comment on it.  I personally LOL (the old meaning that is – not the new) when I came up with this title, as I thought back to last nights presentation of Internet Culture.  What I learned from class last night was just how little I know about the internet and its culture.  I liken my internet experience to someone who frequents the library, but only reads from the autobiography section of books.  It’s not that autobiographies are bad, there are just so many more books in the library to be flipped through, read, shared and appreciated.  I would never consider being dismissive or even challenging those in the library who like to read self help books, fiction, etc. ; they are not better or worse than those who read biographies – they just have different interests, they are seeking something different from their choice of books, etc.  So, this was a Ahh Haaa moment for me.

While I really don’t get the 4Chan thing, … I am ok with it.  While I am a dog person, who could not appreciate the humor of a cute chubby cat that says funny things in kitty talk? – it’s funny and we all need a good laugh some time – there are REAL are health benefits to laughing! For the more serious side of the internet, flicker, youtube, yammer, etc. these tools offer tangible value to society in terms of collaboration efficiency, mass communication efficiencies, low production costs, etc. and their high usage and massive stored content are the very artifacts proving that.  The bottom line, we are diverse – the internet is a reflection of our combined society – therefore the internet is diverse.  We have so much to learn about it…

In terms of preparation for the class this week, it was so much better than the prior presentation.  Early collaborative brainstorming, direction consensus, self assignment all worked with the help of Google +, without all of the noise created by Twitter.  Twitter could then just be used for confirmations, minor clarifications, and approvals.  There were real benefits of Google + in that everyone had equal voice and the synchronous nature ensured there were no disconnects in our thinking; it was nice also just to see everyone’s face while we were talking.  I realized personally just how much I depended on that F2F channel of communication for understanding.   The downside of Google + and Google docs is that they are still working out a lot of kinks.  The help blogs say it all – and I am one of many that can’t seem to overcome the microphone/voice  issue; it is not an isolated case per the blog/comment logs.  Hopes are they will have it fixed BEFORE the end of the semester.  While it is good to see everyone and hear everyone – having to IM in place of talking is really cumbersome and takes away the synchronization value of the tool for me a bit.  Also, Google docs doesn’t always covert powerpoints cleanly to their format; it occasionally black screens slides with effects in them and or whacks the formatting, so that resulted in some awkward moments as we shifted from presentation to presentation.  Trivial in the realm of things, but a bit of a barrier for creating a fully collaborative presentation.

Finally, the “Back-channeling” (BC) that we did last night in class (thank you Hanjun for giving me the name) was for me exhausting.  I found myself unable to really give all of my attention to the presenter the way I would normally, instead I found myself distracted by the important, inquisitive and funny items everyone was sending by Twitter.  The real time nature of the BC discussion made it relevant, but it seemed to take something away from the presenter I thought.  Perhaps BC it is something that is an acquired art form like pacing yourself in a marathon; you won’t get it the first time you go running, but with experience – you choose your sprints wisely.

I am sure the time of the class didn’t help, but with all that information coming to you from all directions – it left me to invent a new “word” for our internet language dictionary TTT – To Tired to Tweet.  In the end, I learned so much last night… but for sure, I am going on a tweeting fast today after a TB (tweet binge) last night!