Choosing and using social software


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Why social software is important, then 10 tips plus some over-riding principles for making social software work inside an organisation.

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  • Facebook Statistics More than 400 million active users 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook Average user creates 70 pieces of content each month More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month. About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice more active on Facebook than non-mobile users. That’s just Facebook. Why bother? Top ten tips Wrap up
  • employees who are able to break out of departmental silos and leverage a diversity of connections  perform better in terms of innovation. Professor Ronald Burt wrote an academic paper, published in the American Journal of Sociology, entitled  Structural Holes and Good Ideas ( pdf ) . "Structural holes" are the gaps that exist within organizations between people and groups of people. Every organization has them. They represent a lack of communication between people, and are a limiting factor on companies' ability to be agile and responsive to change conditions. Professor Burt decided to focus on individuals who broker these gaps: being connected among different groups. Such brokerage is the core driver for companies that implement social software, overcoming the inability to make knowledge and perspectives more widely available. In studying this, Professor Burt put forth this hypothesis: Idea generation at some point involves someone moving knowledge from this group to that, or combining bits of knowledge across groups. Where brokerage is social capital, there should be evidence of brokerage associated with good ideas, and vice versa.His research shows his hypothesis to be true:  better social connections improve ideas .
  • The law has often been illustrated using the example of  fax  machines: a single fax machine is useless, but the value of every fax machine increases with the total number of fax machines in the network, because the total number of people with whom each user may send and receive documents increases. Metcalfe's law is more of a  heuristic  or metaphor than an iron-clad empirical rule. In addition to the difficulty of quantifying the "value" of a network, the mathematical justification measures only the  potential  number of contacts, i.e., the technological side of a network. However the social utility of a network depends upon the number of nodes  in contact . Ie. We’re talking about active users – people who do things within the network.
  • How do you keep up? Remain current with accurate, up-to-date knowledge? How much of what we learnt in school, university, or even in the last training course is in our heads and used? Google + Network = Currency You could also add “know-who” to that.
  • Looked at why. Now we need to look at how. There are so many instances of social software implementations not working. The critical thing to remember is that networks rely on individuals. They cannot be managed, they can only be supported. A bit like gardening.
  • Know your audience. Will they readily adopt social software? Are they already active on Facebook/Myspace/Bebo? Do they do social bookmarking with Diigo or Are they consumers or producers of information? Do they Twitter? Do they have blogs? Would they know a mashup from their RSS? What can you offer inside the organisation that they can't get outside it? Example: Wisetail’s target market
  • Policies are there to protect both the organisation and the individual. Focus on behaviours you would like to encourage and promote, rather than on things not to do. Find the people that are actively involved in these networks to put together a web 2.0 policy for your organisation.
  • You will never compete with Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Diigo, Ning etc. Don't even bother. Instead, get them working for you. Sell the benefits of participation. Not just those to the organisation, but those to the individual. Give permission - but, whatever you do, don't make them mandatory!
  • Learn the capabilities of the free tools like Wikispaces, Yammer and Google docs. They are more secure & private than many people realise. Know who you can trust
  • People who are Cluetrained are dropping out of the command and control pyramid – linking with like-minded people outside of the structure – even outside the organisation. Discover for yourself the benefits of working outside of the porous pyramid. Search for blogs about your specialism and collect them using an RSS reader. Perhaps even start your own learning log.
  • Have a NetSafe campaign inside the organisation - focussing on the implications of not keeping your blog / facebook entries / Flickr photos under control. Not just organisational implications, but personal ones. Linked to the policy
  • Start small. Stay under the radar for as long as possible. Let usage grow organically - virally even. A big bang launch will often just lead to unsustainable expectations, and long term negativity. Social applications like Facebook, Twitter, etc thrive when there is density. Without density there are no benefits to the network. Starting small means being "highly focused". Find an important problem that has a small group of users who can adopt your application to create a "relevant" density to a specific situation.
  • Collaborative tools, such as wikis and forums need a common factor - a reason for being there, and a reason to contribute. Learn from those that are successful: Wikipedia, Pfizerpedia, Manager-Tools, Consider what makes them so special, amongst the many thousands of "failed" collaborative networks & forums. Understand what helps and hinders adoption. Creating a space for networking is fine, but how will you stimulate people to actually do that networking. Learn from conferences - they don't just land people in a room and let them get on with it. They provide stimuli of one sort or another. 90% read, 9% make occasional edits, 1% make regular edits
  • Consider how important the data in the social networks is to your people, and to your organisation. This blog is hosted by me, at my expense, because it's my data, and I want it under my control, not my employers. That's why I also don't host it on a free service - however good it might be. Free services are great if the risk to the business is minimal if the service stops. If that risk is great, then think about spending some money, perhaps even bringing it in-house.
  • If you are looking to source real software, and spend real money, then start by looking at some of the open source tools like Elgg - social network/blog/CPD portfolio, b2evolution - multi-user blogging, Scuttle - social bookmarking, Gregarius - RSS aggregator, Dim Dim - virtual meetings.
  • Whatever you do, get your IT team on board, so they're aware of what you're doing and understand what you're trying to achieve.
  • Always think about it from your user's perspective. On the web, if it's too hard, people will lose interest and go to something else.
  • Don't be afraid to get help. The technology's the easy bit. It's making it work for you that's far, far harder.
  • Choosing and using social software

    1. 1. Choosing and using social software Mark Berthelemy Learning Solutions Architect Capita Learning & Development
    2. 2. An observation from research <ul><li>The larger and more diverse are your personal network of contacts, the higher the quality of your ideas and project work. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    3. 3. Metcalfe’s Law <ul><li>The value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system </li></ul><ul><li>http://'s_law   </li></ul>
    4. 4. Connectivism <ul><li>Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul>
    5. 5. Making social software work <ul><li>Know your audience </li></ul><ul><li>Have a policy </li></ul><ul><li>Give permission </li></ul><ul><li>Know the free tools </li></ul><ul><li>Work outside the porous pyramid </li></ul><ul><li>Be Netsafe </li></ul><ul><li>Start small </li></ul><ul><li>Learn from successes </li></ul><ul><li>Value your data </li></ul><ul><li>Consider open source </li></ul>
    6. 6. Know your audience
    7. 7. Have a policy
    8. 8. Give permission to use existing networks 
    9. 9. Get to know the free tools <ul><li> </li></ul>
    10. 10. Work outside the porous pyramid
    11. 11. Have a Netsafe campaign
    12. 12. Start small
    13. 13. Learn from successful adoptions <ul><li>90: 9: 1 </li></ul>
    14. 14. How important is your data?
    15. 15. Consider open-source solutions
    16. 16. Get IT on board
    17. 17. Consider the user
    18. 18. You may need help
    19. 19. Thank you <ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Tel: 07799 408026 </li></ul>