BarCamp Berlin: Social Networks and Enterprise 2.0

At the BarCamp Berlin me and Frank Hamm had an extremely interesting (and well received) double session on Enterprise 2.0. As we asked the participants what bothers them most, the discussion circled a lot around issues of adoption, change management et al.

Yet I managed to discuss some of the slides I prepared, focussing on the significance of social networks for knowledge workers. This is no easy play for Enterprise 2.0 implementation – and I ask myself how far social networking can make inroads into the enterprise. Not only is it seen with suspicious eyes by security-anxious corporate IT teams, it’s also an approach that HR most probably won’t follow: While we know that supporting (informal) networks is key for knowledge workers, and that they want to access a wide diversity of networks, the HR people fear that interesting employees may get snatched away by competitors if made accessible via social networks. While this is a somewhat distorted view of reality (hey, let’s block access to Facebook, but nah, we can’t take away the phone …) it surely puts obstacles in the way of corporate adoption.

Looking back at Berlin Web2Expo and BarCamp

After getting back from the BarCamp Berlin and Berlin Web 2.0 Expo I went straight into tight project pressures and couldn’t afford to blog. But now it’s time for a summary and a conclusion to the past five days. But first let me express my thanks to Oliver, Andreas and the whole orga team for making the BarCamp Berlin a success – and also thank you to all the sponsors for their support (it showed).

I took the opportunity to blog directly from both (un-)/conferences, see e.g.:
Killing the Org Chart and Enterprise 2.0 Reality Check
Dion Hinchcliffe on Rewriting the rules of the web
Be like the Internet
Barcamp Berlin Tag 1 … Yahoo! Pipes session

Now, I didn’t manage to put down that many posts from the Web 2.0 Expo, as some of the sessions turned out to be something else than advertised, and I swiftly dropped out. And while discussions were more interesting at the BarCamp (and less formalized as well), I really enjoyed the discussions after the Expo sessions and keynotes, mostly because afterwards I’ve met and talked with so many interesting people from all of Europe and the U.S. (like at the parties at the Oberholz and the 40seconds, enjoyed that).

Unluckily Crowdvine, the social networking platform O’Reilly and CMP organized for Web 2.0 Expo arrived a little late. I would have loved such a social network three or four weeks in advance, to connect with other attendees, to organize the day and the meetings, and to explore the social network. Still, it was a good idea and still helps to facilitate the communication even after the conference has ended. Yes, that’s the gist of it all: what really counts are people, and the connections between them.

Now on the weekend I will try to explore some writeups, and I will try to get back to some of the people I’ve met …

So Berlin didn’t “suck” for me, even when I will keep this in mind for the next time. After all, nothing’s perfect the first time, like here – yes, Tim O’Reilly got asked for his ticket to the 40seconds-party. LOL!

Coming up: Web 2.0 Expo Workshops and more …

Hey, Berlin is packed with interesting web 2.0 folks, and obviously most of the people from the BarCamp stay the extra days too. And while I really enjoy discussing and mingling, organized discussions in workshops have benefits too. So I’ve decided to spend my monday checking in ‘an out of a couple of workshops

Monday morning I will start off attending Stowes workshop on Building Social Applications

Despite the widespread adoption of social applications (social networking, file sharing, instant messaging, and blogs, to name only the most well-known) creating applications that foster social interaction is hard. It is altogether too easy to approach application development from an information management mindset and miss the greater social context: people interacting to accomplish personal aims, exploring their identity through social groups, and working in online marketplaces. It is these three contexts – personal, group, and market – that form three complementary and distinct tiers of social applications. Users may opt to use an application for very personal reasons – signing up for a web filing sharing service to transfer a file to a colleague – but they become consistent users, and invite others to use the application, because of the social dimension: how well does the application support the users’ needs for social integration?

Effective social applications bring people into the foreground by making the social dimension intuitive and natural, and integrating information flow into the social. Information architecture must take a back seat to social architecture.

This workshop explores the principles of successful social applications, and presents a Social Architecture approach to model new – or remodel existing – applications. Examples of well-designed and successful social applications – including Flickr,, Facebook, and – are explored in the search for general characteristics and recurring design motifs. A number of badly designed sites are contrasted with “well-socialized” alternatives.

The workshop includes two group activities to explore the application of the approach in small team settings.

And if I get the chance, I will also try to get into this workshop by Scott Hirsch, founder of Management Innovation Group (MIG):

Be Like the Internet – Collaborative, Disruptive, Networked!

After five years of working with major telecoms and media companies to understand where to play and how to win in a business environment that seems to re-invent itself every few months, we’ve come to learn what separates the companies that succeed in the networked economy from those that have been left in its wake. The key to identifying the strategies and business models that withstand the next wave of disruptive hype requires getting honest about the real assets you bring to the table and finding ways to work with the network instead of fighting the changes it represents. This means explicitly changing the way you work and collaborate to set direction, scope opportunity, and build capabilities to rapidly assess business changes and react to them … or choose not to react. Whether you’re from a large corporation or a consultancy (or even a start-up still searching for a business model), this workshop will provide new frameworks and mindsets that you can immediately put to use to understand your opportunities in a web2.0 world.

Barcamp Berlin Tag 1 … Drupal session

Last session for today, now after the Yahoo! Pipes session

  • Some big websites are running on Drupal, like the website of Britney Spears. This seems to be a system geared for intensive use …
  • The Drupal community is big, plus there’s a big business ecosystem (developers, consulting, hosting, …) by now.
  • One of the advantages: high security, (data base) security layers, and interfaces
  • Scaleability, from shared hosting to multiple server settings

Some more introductory information (in german) on Drupal: Einführung in Drupal with related links.

Barcamp Berlin Tag 1 … Yahoo! Pipes session

OK then, I’m in for two more sessions, starting with Yahoo Pipes – Mashup Your Life and then at 6pm Drupal – Introduction & Concepts.

Yahoo! Pipes is a neat way for fast prototyping, and to pull together little applications, filters and stuff. One example is my little pipe “ frogpond RSS feed“, that cleans up the original RSS feed of this site, i.e. that excludes the links from the feed, and provides only my generic posts. I needed this for my BMID-sidebar, where I wanted to include the last ten frogpond-posts but had no need for these “standard for the day” posts. With pipes I managed to build this little helper in practically no time …

Some good information on pipes is here “Learn How to Build a Pipe in Just a Few Minutes“, and have a look at my pipes posts on the BMID-blog.

Barcamp Berlin Tag 1

Not much time to write anything, the WLan started off really shaky and I spent hours getting online in the first place.

I started off with Oliver Gassners session on Getting things done (links and writeup may follow), then a lifehacks session (dubbed procrastination, where I will provide links etc. as soon as I get to it – oh the irony …).

Now in the lunch session I am refining my slides for the session me and Frank will have tomorrow afternoon … and then it’s off for a session on OpenSocial (I think that we can understand this quite good from a Google business model innovation perspective). I better be on time – this will be a room packed with people.