I just finished reading a great column written by Andrew McAfee for Forbes.com about why social media pilot projects often fail. He's an advocate of social media, so I was interested in hearing his take on the subject. The column is definitely worth reading, especially if you are the manager of a corporate social media initiative. Here's my takeaway: Too many companies are treating social media like some new flavor of CRM, which is a serious mistake right off the bat. Next, it seems as though many executives expect social media pilot programs to show results after a couple of months. The best analogy I can think of would be if you were disappointed because your four-month-old child hadn't already been signed by a major league sports team or hadn't been admitted to Harvard. Imagine what it would sound like if you started complaining, "Hey, what's wrong with this kid? Maybe we should bring him back to the hospital and exchange him for a better model. Or maybe we should just rethink this whole kid thing and get a dog instead ..."
But sometimes I hear comments just as absurd by executives who ought to know better. Here is the stark reality: Social media is in its infancy. In fact, every aspect of information technology is in its infancy -- every platform out there is young! And social media is certainly one of the newest, and therefore one of the youngest. I think we need to give it a few more years before we begin judging the real "value" of social media to the enterprise.
My friend Luis Suarez has done it again -- written a really useful post on the topic of collaboration, this time focusing on three common obstacles to adoption. I don't want to steal his thunder, so please click on through to his excellent blog, Thinking Outside the Inbox, and enjoy!
If anybody out there has a good story about how they used Chatter or any other social media program to improve or enhance a business process, or to improve internal collaboration or collaboration with business partners, please contact me and I will be absolutely delighted to include the story in my new book about how businesses use social media and social networking tools to improve existing business processes, or invent new ones! Social media is an exciting development in the history of business, and I would love to hear some real stories from the front lines. Thanks in advance!
It's official. I'm writing a business book for John Wiley & Sons on the topic of corporate social computing strategy. Basically, it will examine the many ways in which smart companies use social media to encourage and support internal collaboration, innovation and communications. If you know people involved in corporate social media who would like to be interviewed, please ask them to contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (203-209-6061). Don't hesitate to contact me if you have suggestions, advice or ideas. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance!