There’s an interesting conversation starting over at ReadWriteWeb in a post entitled, Driving Change: Selling SharePoint and Social Media inside the Enterprise. In it Jason Harris suggests some strategies for introducing social media within an organization that isn’t terribly keen on it. He begins with an interesting premise, but then gets trapped by his product:
Analyze your particular circumstances. Technology alone won’t fix or alleviate a business problem. Merely throwing up a wiki and publicizing it doesn’t guarantee its success. Instead, use collaborative technologies such as SharePoint to solve the problem.
The reality is that SharePoint is not a social media silver bullet. In fact, as Christoph Schmaltz points out in his comment on Jason’s post, SharePoint isn’t particularly social in and of itself. If anything, it’s a platform that merely facilitates the deployment of social media tools developed outside Microsoft.
Sharepoint built connectors to Enterprise wikis like Socialtext and Confluence because they realized that their patched wiki functionality could simply not do the job and help people to collaborate. Why is MS partnering with Newsgator to deliver social capabilities? MS has missed the train and they are desperately trying to catch up, because their customers are demanding more flexible, light-weight and easy-to-use tools.
Clearly there is a different approach to social media and collaboration that isn’t primarily about SharePoint evangelism, even though we all understand that SharePoint is the 800lb gorilla in the social media playroom. For those of you attending LegalTech 2009, please do stop by the Web 2.0 track on Tuesday. Christoph’s Headshift colleague, Lee Bryant, and I will be leading a conversation about how to unleash social media within law practices (with or without SharePoint). I do hope you’ll join us.
And then, let’s see if Dewey or Truman (or McCain) wins this social media debate.
[Photo Credit: Tony Buser, Creative Commons license]
Very interesting catch on this. Is this somewhat like using the word you are defining in the definition?
Hah… SharePoint is a hot marketing term and many in the tech industry seem to be thinking it slices, dices, and makes your coffee for you too!
While this is obviously an exaggeration, I do think SharePoint will help savvy technologists and social media evangelists alike the opportunity to increase their sphere of exposure in the enterprise.
To be fair, I don’t doubt that Jason Harris has a great deal of confidence in his product. And, if he had simply said he wanted to talk about how SharePoint could be useful as a tool, I wouldn’t have an issue at all. The problem is when SharePoint is repackaged as the social media solution to beat all others. If Microsoft continues to partner with companies that really do understand social computing and provide apps with excellent functionality, SharePoint may become a great social media tool — 5 years from now. However, it can’t honestly claim that title today.
As for the SharePoint coffee, I wouldn’t drink it. Would you?
I would be grateful if you would share a post or slideshare from your upcoming legal session. I would like to introduce your work to a KM group.
I’ll definitely be blogging on the session so please stay tuned…
A colleague of mine once told me that “technology makes the things you’re already doing go faster”. So, if your organization is already inclined to work collaboratively, to share workproduct and insight, then bringing social media in will help. If they aren’t so inclined, you have a different task before you. Then you can think about automating it. The platform isn’t going to help if the behaviour isn’t present.
That’s a fair point, Wendy. But I can’t help believing that humans are essentially social creations (otherwise we’d all be living off the grid in the backwoods somewhere). As social creations, there are ways of being with each other that foster collaboration and sharing. However, the old-fashioned ways of facilitating these natural behaviors don’t scale. Introducing social media tools with few if any constraints can help people continue to be social — but across time zones and cultures.
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That's a fair point, Wendy. But I can't help believing that humans are essentially social creations (otherwise we'd all be living off the grid in the backwoods somewhere). As social creations, there are ways of being with each other that foster collaboration and sharing. However, the old-fashioned ways of facilitating these natural behaviors don't scale. Introducing social media tools with few if any constraints can help people continue to be social — but across time zones and cultures.FUCK