Tonight I did a quite long comment on Björn’s post at the Enterprise2Open blog on “Microblogging as a Corporate Tool“). These are some thoughts, and essentially my take on the adoption issues with Twitter that are cross-linked and -influenced by the discussions at Centrestage, Communardo (and Cem Basman too).
Björn asked about the requirements we’re seeing (and need to meet) when we want to introduce these tools towards organizations and assumed that “we need Twitter to succeed for the masses before micro blogging can be implemented in a substantial way”. I don’t think so and explain below, but he’s got a very good point in demanding more best-practices and enterprise success stories. Anyway, here’s a quote of what I commented:
I am divided if “understanding” is what we need to drive corporate adoption. Twitter and co. are basically easy to get applications. The way I see it, people don’t use it because they don’t understand and don’t see the altered mode of communication – as it’s so counterintuitive to what we all have learned for long.
Yes, telling and educating corporations about Microblogs won’t hurt (and adding a list of possible usage arenas is a good start too, @Dirk) but I propose to focus on the personal benefits of “ambient initimacy” for knowledge workers and explore usage potentials in project or innovation management from there.
People don’t really care about project documentation and “after action” knowledge reviews (and innovators despise processes and organizational boundaries) – hence, we must provide them with light-weight tools that don’t add much additional work load and that bring instant benefits. This is where Twit’ter, Yammer and co. are coming into play: they are making it easier to feel connected, to communicate and they allow for easy “drill-down” (at least three times: in terms of intensity of debate, in terms of private or public conversation, in terms of engaging into a conversation when I feel so and dropping out from it again when fit).
Now, Laura Fitton prefers “microsharing” to “microblogging” (yes, the latter is pretty common and already a kind of industry standard) and I can see the reasons. It’s not so much blogging, messaging, documenting or whatever. Twitter and co. are also means for sharing time, for caring about your colleagues and professional network.
So, as microsharing alters the patterns and ways of communication within an enterprise, we may need 1) an organizational culture that understands the need and value of “caring for your colleagues (and what are they up to in this d*** project”) and 2) we must understand that people need to use it personally some times to understand its benefits for them and their work.
Btw, somehow this reminds me of the initial reactions of people towards wikis. And with that said, I’ve seen it quite often that when people begin to use their intranet wiki, ideas where this nifty tool (and method to collaborate, dare I say) might be used too emerge quickly. I guess that might happen with enterprise microsharing platforms as well, so it’s more about building a versatile and adaptive platform than getting the usage scenarios right from the very start.