E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Evolving Social Bookmarking Tools for the Corporate Markets – Towards Enterprise Social Software Adoption

In a recent follow up post from Dennis McDonald, regarding a weblog post I created last Friday commenting on the second episode of the podcast I did with the Shortcuts team around social bookmarking, he actually gets to share some interesting comments that I thought would be really worth while highlighting over here as well around the subject of social bookmarking from an enterprise perspective and where it stands. Dennis actually commented over there how most of these offerings / tools are actually rather useful on their own even without taking into account the social aspects of knowledge sharing and collaboration. Something that I really agree with, but why limit on that. The best thing of having those tools being a bit more social than all the others is like the icing on the cake.

 It just makes sense to try to inspire a whole lot more people into building further up on that collective gathering of essential links and annotations so that they could leverage people’s skills and expertise a lot faster and become up to speed as soon as possible.

I tend to agree as well with his thoughts that social software tools is mainly driven by who else is actually making use of them. Something that I got to weblog about earlier on today as well in where I mentioned the crucial role of Early Adopters to become that critical mass to help in the adoption of all of these social tools within the enterprise. That is right, no matter how good or how powerful or how easy the application is to be used, without that initial critical mass of end-users you have got nothing. So this would be another aspect to take into account when working with such social tools for a larger adoption within whatever the corporation.

I certainly enjoyed his comments, too, about how most of these tools actually provide good searching mechanisms for finding what you are looking for but still leave also plenty of room for serendipity to take place and let knowledge workers connect that way, too ! Rather impressive if you come to think how simple most of these social media tools are, right?

Oh, yes, and I certainly agree with his commentary about the fact that Dennis finds it confusing to make use of multiple tools to try to achieve a similar thing, which is why actually I have decided to stick myself with two of them: BlinkList and Dogear. The rest I have given them a try more or less for some time but if they are not compelling enough to make me move I stick with what I have and quite happy with it. Mind you, though, I still have try out a few of them out there for which I have been invited so if you see my weblogging away about them is because they made switch over, but so far no other social bookmarking tool has managed to do so. We shall see.

"I am finding that  support for the tagging process is a major differentiator. I especially like it when a service makes a list of tags available as popups when I start typing; I also like it when I can easily tell, when tagging, which tags I’ve used myself and which tags others have used."

Dennis, then you must try out BlinkList, because that is exactly what it does and quite nicely, actually !

"This suggests the need for a couple of features to facilitate corporate use of social bookmarking, including:

  1. Inside-the-firewall hosting.
  2. Integration with administration of existing security and access level systems.
  3. Integration with existing file and document management systems and processes."

Again, another good reason for an enterprise perspective as to why I really enjoy making use of Dogear. It is behind the firewall, it uses different security and access level systems that IBM is currently using and it integrates quite nicely with a good number of other different IBM and non-IBM tools I get to use on a daily basis. So it surely makes it like the perfect match.

"Also, corporate adoption of such services will be fast among some user groups and slow among others. While it is common to describe the likely adopters of such services as "knowledge workers," three other things may also be true:

  1. Not all knowledge workers are motivated to collaborate.
  2. Not all corporate workers are knowledge workers.
  3. You don’t have to be a knowledge worker to understand the value of collaboration."

Very, very true! And why I mentioned earlier on today that if your corporation struggles in the larger adoption of social software tools you may want to look into having some sort of Technology Adoption Program where innovators and early adopters get together to help in promoting and raising some further awareness on the different tools available and how people can get to make good use of them with very little impact and a very reduced learning curve. Sometimes, in most cases, it pays off big time to start small and build up from there. And in the social software world that can be easily achieved with a good bunch of early adopters who are passionate about trying out just about anything as far as tools are concerned.

So as you can see I certainly agree with most of the different points that Dennis put together in his weblog post and certainly he is just spot on with some of the different issues that enterprises may be facing sooner rather than later if they plan to adopt those social software tools. The good news though is that there is a way to help increase that awareness and adoption and it is not as difficult as what you may have thought about in the first place. A good Technology Adoption Program and a critical mass of early adopters can get you really far far away. No doubt!

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