Last night was the 3rd MTUB (Melbourne Twitter Underground Brigade) meetup, sponsored by Adobe (and someone else but I can’t remember) who bought us all a few drinks and pizza. I think fun was had by all, highlights.

  • There was an iPhone in the wild, anyone who touched it had complete iPhone lust
  • Lots of photos were taken, more should be posted
  • Prizes were won for the best use of AIR in a Tweet and getting Mark to keep the drinks flowing
  • Lucas had a very slick application that projected all the @MTUB tweets on the big screen
  • There was lots of tech talk, lots of Twitter talk and lots of general talk
  • How interesting it is catching up with your online social network offline and how the relationships you already have continue to develop
  • As the night wore on the Horses Bazaar had a belly dancer

A great night and looking forward to next month.

links for 2007-08-16

Blasts from the Past

Over the last couple of days I have been looking for inspiration on what to blog about, so I started researching a couple of topics on communication, collaboration and employee engagement. Funny enough I found some of my old posts, so I thought instead of writing something new I would give you “5 Blasts from the Past“.

  1. Into the Grey Zone
  2. A culture for collaboration
  3. Corporate Communications
  4. Corporate Blogging and Knowledge
  5. Find, Use, Share, Expand

I hope you enjoy.

Justifying Social Networks?

UPDATE: I changed the title as I hated it, don’t even like the new one but it is better.

For some of my new readers I suspect this post is a bit “old-skool” in style.

Jason Corsello from The Human Capitalist blog wrote an interesting piece the other day proposing that maybe HR could shepherd social networking tools into organisations. Overall great post and of course HR has a pivotal role to play but there are lots of hurdles to get over first. My thoughts on Jason’s post are below.

So the question…will Facebook be the emerging platform for social networking in the enterprise…

Easy no it won’t. Why. Data security and confidential collaboration is still required. Could an enterprise version of Facebook work, so would LinkedIn. Just like no Fortune 500 company will use Google Docs or GMail as their recommended productivity tool, the SOX compliance folks would freak! We need a solution that can run inside the firewall.

IT, especially at large organizations, still maintains a command and control approach to applications and communication technology and will continue to do so.

They do and will always, while the CIO is responsible for technology compliance and up time. Now this does not mean IT should not deploy these new tools, far from it. But without a major re-think in the last 30 years of management development within IT, they will always own the tool and be the gatekeeper. One thing to note is “Best in Class” it organisations spend 60% on support and 40% on new stuff, most companies the ratio is 80/20 and for some 90/10. This means because IT budgets are almost flat unless you shutdown something down you are eating into next year’s new development budget.

Steve Roesler commented with some great insights.

1. Even the most tech-savvy execs don’t really know about–and haven’t been educated on–social networking application and platforms.

True but this is where internal evangelism can help, and not from the IT department, HR would be a great place.

2. The most tech-savvy exec I know DID NOT know the term “blog.” She is 40-ish, sharp, and headed to my blog when I told her what it was about.

Sad but again true and again evangelism.

3. Legal and IT departments are quick purveyors of doom with “you can’t do that” thinking. They are not part of the “how can we use this” process.

Again true, but not because IT departments want to be difficult for the sake of it (I can’t talk for legal) there are real issues that need to be resolved and it all unfortunately comes down to money. I know that by implementing these tools a company will save money, but IT is usually measure as a % of revenue, so unless your project has revenue impact (or you are shutting legacy systems down) you could have a hard time getting approval.

Ok I have been a bit harsh, but there are positives. Yes via HR is the most sensible place for social networking technologies to be introduced. The trick will be the business case and the politics in working with IT who won’t want to do it, at first. A smart CIO/CHRO will hire an evangelist to help them understand what is going on, don’t rely on you Business Analysts, architects, or vendors.

I’m not going to tell you the benefits of a social network tool inside the firewall, I’ll let Jason, Dubs and Systematic, maybe even Thomas (but he is a vendor) do that, they are able to break that sort of stuff down very nicely! I think I just played tag :-).

What generation are you?

I have been posting a bit about the whole Generation debate/issue over the last few months, and so have a lot of people if the Google Trends graph is correct.

One such post is Penelope Trunk’s on What generation are you part of, really? Take this test. Which basically states your generation is not 100% defined by your birth date, it’s more about who you are and what you do. To help us figure things out Penelope has created a quick survey to work out where you stand. Not sure it is 100% scientific but I would guess it provides a good base line.

Add up your points to figure out what generation you’re really a part of:

  • Do you have your own web page? (1 point)
  • Have you made a web page for someone else? (2 points)
  • Do you IM your friends? (1 point)
  • Do you text your friends? (2 points)
  • Do you watch videos on YouTube? (1 point)
  • Do you remix video files from the Internet? (2 points)
  • Have you paid for and downloaded music from the Internet? (1 point)
  • Do you know where to download free (illegal) music from the Internet? (2 points)
  • Do you blog for professional reasons? (1 point)
  • Do you blog as a way to keep an online diary? (2 points)
  • Have you visited MySpace at least five times? (1 point)
  • Do you communicate with friends on Facebook? (2 points)
  • Do you use email to communicate with your parents? (1 point)
  • Did you text to communicate with your parents? (2 points)
  • Do you take photos with your phone? (1 point)
  • Do you share your photos from your phone with your friends? (2 points)

0-1 point – Baby Boomer
2-6 points – Generation Jones
6- 12 points – Generation X
12 or over – Generation Y

I scored 20 out of a possible 22, so I guess I am Gen Y at heart.

I am not sure I agree with the scores and think they are a little to “low” and would allow many non Gen X/Y into the categories. So I re jigged them:

4 or less – Baby Boomer
5 to 10 – Generation Jones/Baby Boomer
11 to 15 – Generation X
16 or over – Generation Y

DOD’s payroll replacement project

It was about 10 years ago I first heard of the PMKeyS project at Australian Department of Defence. At the time it was one of the large PeopleSoft implementations in the world, and the largest in Australia (if not in the top 3 I can’t remember). Anyway, I read today that they are in the process of replacing the system, both Oracle and SAP have been invited to tender, makes sense.

But the whole process is being held up by the search for a new CIO.

Executives close to the department’s chief information officer group have suggested the department will “almost certainly” miss internal project targets because of its prolonged search for a new chief information officer.

PMKeyS is one of the most important business software projects on the department’s plate, as it affects many aspects of its operations and has major implications for its ability to manage troop readiness.

I will be watching this play out for two reasons. First there is irony that recruitment is holding up the decision on a new HR system. Second who wins the deal as that will put even more pressure on contractor rates in the Australian market.

Open up the network and be really Web 2.0

Warning rant.

My biggest complaint about social networks is they are basically a closed shop, and I have told that to anyone who will listen. You pour all this data in and if you want to leave, too bad you need to start again.


Finally it seems others are starting to see the light as well. Scott Gilbertson from Wired has written about the issue as well. Unfortunately he seems a bit out of touch.

First he uses Plaxo’s new Pulse service as an answer, yeah kind of. Second he says;

At this point, “friend” relationships remain unique to the social networks. The web still lacks a generalized way to convey relationships between people’s identities on the internet. The absence of this secret sauce — an underlying framework that connects “friends” and establishes trust relationships between peers — is what gave rise to social networks in the first place.

I beg your pardon? What about XFN and FOAF microformats?

If the real evangelists/architects of social networks had put effort in over the last 3-5 years we would have an open standard. I started speculating in Jan 2005 about using XFN for social networks, and I am not even in the social networking business. Also for all the services out there that have the concept of “friends” and claim to be open, collaborative and all Web 2.0’ish but do not support these standards? Shame on you.

End of rant.

My Link Blog

Over the last year or more I have been sharing items from Google Reader in my Link Blog, it occurred to me that I have no idea if anyone actually subscribes to it and if so should I keep up sharing what I read.

The answer? FeedBurner.

I took my really unfriendly Google Shared Items feed;

And re-packaged it as a nice easy to use URL;

Not only is the URL nice an easy to remember, but I get statistics now on how may people subscribe. So if you have subscribed to my Link Blog could you take the time to re-subscribe to the new feed so I know you are there.