Social computing tools for collaboration: perceptions of opportunity and risk

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Invited webinar presentation for the Knowledge Innovation Network, University of Warwick, 29 April 2010. The content of the webinar draws on findings from the research project available from http://drhazelhall.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/soc_comp_proj_rep_public_2008.pdf

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Social computing tools for collaboration: perceptions of opportunity and risk

  1. 1. KIN webinar 29th April 2010Social computing tools for collaboration Perceptions of opportunity and risk Dr Hazel Hall Director - Centre for Social Informatics School of Computing Edinburgh Napier University
  2. 2. IntroductionDr Hazel Hall  Director – Centre for Social Informatics  Edinburgh Napier UniversityTFPL  Specialist professional services company  Knowledge, information, library, records and web & content managementPresentation content derives from 1. Edinburgh Napier-TFPL project on social computing 2. Edinburgh Napier project on Twitter use amongst information professionals 3. Experience of Twitter and Yammer
  3. 3. Focus on social computing toolsEstablish main opportunities and risks of social computing tools within organisations for collaborative work purposes, as perceived by information and knowledge management professionals  Licensed collaborative work platforms, e.g. SharePoint (Microsoft), Lotus Notes and Quickplace (IBM), E-rooms (Documentum)  “Mature” social software applications, e.g. instant messaging, blogs, wikis  More recent Web 2.0 applications, e.g. social networking, microblogging
  4. 4. Focus on collaborative work purposesEstablish main opportunities and risks of social computing tools within organisations for collaborative work purposes, as perceived by information and knowledge management professionals  Early focus  Freely available social software for personal use  Academic studies that treat “older” applications in non-corporate environments, e.g. educational settings  Fewer studies on internal social computing environments  Lack of extant literature on newer tools, e.g. social networking and microblogging applications
  5. 5. Tools exploredSocial computing for purposes of collaborative work  Blogs  Wikis  Social networking  Instant messaging  Microblogging
  6. 6. Focus on perceptions of I&KM communityEstablish main opportunities and risks of social computing tools within organisations for collaborative work purposes, as perceived by information and knowledge management professionals  Rather than:  Journalists, e.g. concern over vulnerable groups  Educational researchers, e.g. goal of enhancement of classroom environment  Public relations professionals, e.g. efforts to improve corporate communications
  7. 7. Research focus 1: scale of implementationOrganisational uptake of social computing  Levels of adoption  Degree of access to tools  In general  By tool  By tool functionAttitudes of IM/KM staff to social computing  In general  By tool
  8. 8. Research foci 2 & 3: opportunity & riskAnticipated & actual, feared & realised (literature review) Themes Opportunities RisksProductivity Improved productivity Time-wasting through increased collaborationPractices Enhanced IM practice Erosion of IM practice, e.g. archiving & accessing exchanges, compromised securityBehaviours Positive cultural change Antisocial behaviour, e.g. bullying
  9. 9. Research activities: 12 weeksWeeks 1-2 Weeks 3-8 Weeks 8-12 Weeks 10-12Literature Design of data collection Data analysis Writing upreviewing tools and data collectionPreface to Web-based survey Quantitative – Excel 14,500 wordstudy Focus groups Qualitative - manual report Interviews 96 contributions, majority from public sector employees (725 = median organisation size) If you would like a copy of the report, please e-mail h.hall@napier.ac.uk
  10. 10. Uptake of social computing for collaborative work Range in levels of adoption Sophisticated implementations with integrated “consumer” & licensed applicationsNon-provision
  11. 11. Uptake of social computing for collaborative work Range in levels of adoption Sophisticated implementations with integrated “consumer” & licensed applications Sense that the study came “too early” Sense that the study came “too early” High number of “don’t know” and “neutral” High number of “don’t know” and “neutral” responses to survey questions responses to survey questions Two thirds of respondents who provided additional Two thirds of respondents who provided additional free text comments at end of survey noted that the free text comments at end of survey noted that the impacts of social computing were yet to be felt impacts of social computing were yet to be felt Interviewees were cautious in drawing firm Interviewees were cautious in drawing firm conclusions conclusionsNon-provision
  12. 12. Access and encouragement
  13. 13. Access and encouragement General findings General findings Mixed access Mixed access Low encouragement Low encouragement Public sector Public sector Higher levels of access and Higher levels of access and encouragement encouragement Private sector Private sector Greater levels of actual usage Greater levels of actual usage Restricted use Restricted use Reported by 24% survey Reported by 24% survey respondents respondents Change management Change management investment concerns investment concerns Even/especially in cases of high Even/especially in cases of high financial outlay financial outlay
  14. 14. Enthusiasm amongst IM and KM staffLevels of enthusiasm for social computing for collaborative work amongst IM and KM staff = high  Increases collaboration and improves productivity in general  Facilitates knowledge and information sharing  Connects individuals and groups  Widens communication channels  Enhances IM practice  More obvious and better organisation of resources  Consolidation of material and reduction of silos  24 hour access  Induces positive cultural change  e.g. widen employee choice  retention
  15. 15. The biggest risk?
  16. 16. The biggest risk?Failure to capitalise on opportunities offered by social computing tools due to poor implementation management  Respondents familiar with this risk from earlier experiences, e.g. intranet developments from mid-90s onwards  (This risk is not considered in the literature) Like most things it’s about cultural change. A Like most things it’s about cultural change. A tool (however clever) can be used well/badly. tool (however clever) can be used well/badly. Therefore usual considerations apply around Therefore usual considerations apply around what purpose does it serve, selling it to the what purpose does it serve, selling it to the business, understanding business business, understanding business benefits/risks, giving staff skills to use [it/them] benefits/risks, giving staff skills to use [it/them] properly, providing standards and guidance properly, providing standards and guidance around use, encouraging good practice. around use, encouraging good practice.
  17. 17. Less prominent risksIM problems  Information sprawl (but not overload); archiving; means of accessing archives; (version control and information quality)Compromised security  (Legal infringement and disrepute theoretically valid, though not realised in practice); some leakage of confidential informationLowered productivity  Coping with IM problems; failure to adopt social computing tools  “If employees are going to waste time, they do not need social computing tools to do it”(Anti-social behaviour)
  18. 18. Top tools for IM and KM professionalsRank Tool Opportunities Risks posed 1 Wikis Information sharing Information quality in terms of wiki accuracy; IM practice Leakage of confidential Productivity data 2 Blogs Connecting individuals & groups, e.g. Disrepute unite separated team members Leakage of confidential Widening communication channels to data large audiences, e.g. promotion of work, opening up of conversations, feedback
  19. 19. Tool availability & usefulnessAvailability UsefulnessWikis WikisBlogging BloggingSocial networking Instant messagingInstant messaging Social networkingMicroblogging Microblogging
  20. 20. Tool availability, usefulness & usageAvailability Usefulness UsageWikis Wikis Social networkingBlogging Blogging Instant messagingSocial networking Instant messaging WikisInstant messaging Social networking BloggingMicroblogging Microblogging Microblogging
  21. 21. Tool availability, usefulness & usageAvailability Usefulness UsageWikis Wikis Social networkingBlogging Blogging Instant messagingSocial networking Instant messaging WikisInstant messaging Social networking BloggingMicroblogging Microblogging Microblogging
  22. 22. Tool availability, usefulness & usageAvailability Usefulness UsageWikis Wikis Social networkingBlogging Blogging Instant messagingSocial networking Instant messaging WikisInstant messaging Social networking BloggingMicroblogging Microblogging Microblogging
  23. 23. Tool availability, usefulness & usageAvailability Usefulness UsageWikis Wikis Social networkingBlogging Blogging Instant messagingSocial networking Instant messaging WikisInstant messaging Social networking BloggingMicroblogging Microblogging Microblogging Ready availability of a tool does not guarantee popularity Under-exploitation of most valuable tools? Microblogging barely on the radar, yet consider its features…
  24. 24. MicrobloggingElements of social networking  End user determines source of information flow based on “social network” that he/she buildsElements of instant messaging (& texting)  Interactions are brief and to the point, real time, “familiar” formatElements of wiki  Public nature of conversations encourages collaborative building of new knowledgeElements of blogging  Microblog, with easy linking to other resources
  25. 25. MicrobloggingElements of social networking  End user determines source of information flow based on “social Plus elements of network” that Plus elements of he/she builds conversation, providing: conversation, providing:Elements of instant messaging 1. Meta-knowledge 1. brief and to the  Interactions are Meta-knowledge point, real time, “familiar” format 2. Problem reformulation 2. Problem reformulationElements of wiki Validation 3. Validation 3. 4. Legitimisation  Public nature 4. Legitimisation encourages collaborative building of of conversations new knowledgeElements of blogging  Microblog, with easy linking to other resources
  26. 26. Microblogging & KM 1For codification  Focus on tweeting, e.g.  Information services “twinforming”, often linked to other resources such as blog entries – move away from e-mail distribution lists  (Shared) note taking, e.g. at meetings, events, conferences  Means of saving links to references/resources for own future useFor learning and professional development  Focus on following (people, lists, hashtags) e.g.  Link to the many KMers tweet on Twitter – see, for example, http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/km-tweeters  Exploit power of asymmetrical relationships  Engage in legitimate peripheral participation  Remote participation at events
  27. 27. Microblogging & KM 2For connecting  Focus on building, observing and exploiting networks, e.g.  Extend own individual network with external contacts on Twitter  Possible to uncover knowledge relationships through observing internal and external following patterns  (You can observe Twitter without an account)As part of PR/marketing element of KM strategy  Microblogging as additional communication tool e.g.  Status updates – projects, staff  Advertise events
  28. 28. X
  29. 29. 5 stages of Twitter acceptance http://www.slideshare.net/minxuan/how- twitter-changed-my-life-presentation 4. Conversing II don’t always post useful don’t always post useful stuff, but II do use Twitter to stuff, but do use Twitter to have authentic 1x1 have authentic 1x1 3. Dumping conversations. conversations. I’m on Twitter and use it for I’m on Twitter and use it for pasting links to my blog pasting links to my blog posts and pointing people to posts and pointing people to 2. Presence my press releases. my press releases. OK, II don’t really get why OK, don’t really get why people love it, but II guess people love it, but guess 1. Denial II should at least create an should at least create an account. account.II think Twitter sounds stupid. think Twitter sounds stupid. Why would anyone careWhy would anyone care what other people are doingwhat other people are doing right now?right now?
  30. 30. 5 stages of Twitter acceptance http://www.slideshare.net/minxuan/how- twitter-changed-my-life-presentation 4. Conversing II don’t always post useful don’t always post useful 5. Microblogging stuff, but II do use Twitter to stuff, but do use Twitter to have authentic 1x1 have authentic 1x1 3. Dumping conversations. conversations. I’m using Twitter to publish I’m on Twitter and use it for I’m using Twitter to publish I’m on Twitter and use it for pasting links to my blog pasting links to my blog useful information that posts and pointing people to useful information that 2. Presence posts and pointing people to my press releases. my press releases. people read, and to people read, and to OK, II don’t really get why OK, don’t really get why people love it, but I1x1 authentically. converse I guess people love it, but 1x1 authentically. conversecreate an I should at least guess1. Denial I should at least create an account. account.II think Twitter sounds stupid. think Twitter sounds stupid. Why would anyone careWhy would anyone care what other people are doingwhat other people are doing right now?right now?
  31. 31. 5 stages of Twitter acceptance http://www.slideshare.net/minxuan/how- twitter-changed-my-life-presentation 4. Conversing II don’t always post useful don’t always post useful 5. Microblogging stuff, but II do use Twitter to stuff, but do use Twitter to have authentic 1x1 have authentic 1x1 3. Dumping conversations. conversations. I’m using Twitter to publish I’m on Twitter and use it for I’m using Twitter to publish I’m on Twitter and use it for pasting links to my blog pasting links to my blog useful information that posts and pointing people to useful information that 2. Presence posts and pointing people to my press releases. my press releases. people read, and to people read, and to OK, II don’t really get why OK, don’t really get why people love it, but I1x1 authentically. converse I guess people love it, but 1x1 authentically. conversecreate an I should at least guess1. Denial I should at least create an account. Plus KM functions related to account. Plus KM functions related toII think Twitter sounds stupid. think Twitter sounds stupid. 1. Codification 1. Codification Why would anyone careWhy would anyone care 2. Learning & professional development 2. Learning & professional development what other people are doingwhat other people are doing right now? 3. Connecting 3. Connectingright now? 4. PR/marketing 4. PR/marketing
  32. 32. Opportunity & risk – some conclusionsI&KM staff recognise value of social computing tools  …but opinions not necessarily shared with “ordinary” workersMajor concerns less to do with tools per se than with their implementation  … and this is in contrast with what the media would have the general population believeLong-term value of tools is not yet apparent  Microblogging parallels  e-mail 15 years ago: etiquette, e.g. work/social conversation; accounts and identities; underestimation of power of tool  e-commerce 10 years ago?  Napier “virtual economy” & Yammer experiments
  33. 33. KIN webinar – 29th April 2010Social computing tools for collaboration Perceptions of opportunity and risk Dr Hazel Hall Director - Centre for Social Informatics School of Computing Edinburgh Napier University

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