Community and social computing
Laptops are the ubiquitous tool of Networked Man. It's also how you identify them in the wild.
I'm a very heavy laptop user. I take it with me almost every day when I leave the house. Hence, I need something that won't drag me down in terms of weight. I've been using one kind of Thinkpad or another for years, honestly, because this is what they provide me at work. It seems to do the job well and isn't too heavy (current one is about 5 lbs).
On the other hand,I really like the idea of convertible notebooks or Tablet PCs where you can flip the screen over
and lay it flat on the keyboard and then write on it. IBM's PC division (before Lenovo) had one for a brief time together with a notepad, but that went away. In fact most Tablet PCs were similar size (12" screens), which was a little too small for me.
The one I see out there now is Gateway's 14" widescreen version. However, they haven't made a good docking station for it, just a port replicator.
I'd like to a tablet PC with a docking station you can just plug into vertically to turn the unit into a sort of
all-in-one monitor-PC. There'd be a keyboard, mouse and cabling connected to the dock of course. But the core idea would be to have a dock that works like an adjustable monitor base (turning it, raising it, etc.)
When you're on the go, you could simply suspend, unlock and lift it off and put it into a locking hard case/shell rather than having to strap into a laptop bag.
Honestly, the five minutes it takes for me to hibernate my computer, undocking, and pack it; then do the reverse when at my location turns out to be about an hour a week I've lost. That's 40-50 hours a year; i.e., a whole week of work.
From the number of emails and calls I get on community each week, it's very clear to me that people have very different ideas when they talk about community. Some talk about blogs when they really mean a group discussion forum, others ask about forums, when they really mean a live chat system, and so on.
Even within a particular service type, such as a forum, there are many models of how teams make use of the service. For example, many teams think of a forum particularly as a product support area. Others thing of it as a way for community members to discuss ideas and new topics. Still others perceive forums as a social gathering/group blog-like atmosphere.
Take another example of a chat system: many have asked us for chats which are more like a presentation with a group of experts that others can submit questions to. Others ask for a free-form open chat room associated with a topic where anyone can ask any question. Still others, consider chats as a private meeting only for a specific group of people.
It's also not limited to a single service either. For example, some want a community service where it's mostly a free-form discussion forum, but occassionaly they can save some information to put into a FAQ. Others want a group document/wiki along with a chat room or forum to discuss some aspects of the document project they are working on. Still others want a blog where occassionally the blogger can have an open chat with people.
My point is that there are many use-cases of these services. Such community use-cases are often repeatable or reusable for different populations or teams. For our site, it's very handy to define such use-cases because the next time you use that model, you have a better understanding of what to expect. Also when people ask for features of the community they want to create, you have a list of use-cases that you may be able to pick from (or create a new one).
From a super-community (a community of communities) like our dW Community, it is even more helpful to have this because you can learn by experience what works and what does not. You can also record best practices on how to interact with the community if you are an outsider, or even within the community.
This kind of semi-formalized approach isn't always perfect or successful but like any kind of knowledge, applying some kind of structure can help in the long-term. This is especially good for the "wild wild west" for new innovative ideas like Web 2.0
The newly created IBM developerWorks Peer Advisors Network showcases technologies to the developer community. They are looking for developers who would like to be peer advisors for IBM Cloudscape V10.1, a commercially supported release of Apache Derby. Cloudscape v10.1 is a small footprint, pure Java relational-database engine. An earlier release of Cloudscape, Cloudscape 10.0, won the Developer.com 2005 DBMS of the Year Award.
Membership in the Peer Advisors Network doesn't cost anything and it does include rewards.
If you're interested in participating, sign up here:
Okay, this is my reason why and a sort of apology for not posting frequently...
We're moving house in Tucson, from our central neighborhood near the Univ. of Arizona to the west side of town, near the Tucson mountains. It has a nice view of the city and mountains, with little critters running around (chipmunks, bunnies, quail and scorpions). It's not too far out, only about 15 minutes in the other direction but in a place that isn't significantly urbanized yet.
Our house finally finished building after 2 years of work, only delayed by about 150% in time (15 months). Thank goodness for fixed price contracts.
The building delay, although they would not admit it, is by my guess, probably from haphazard project management. I had at least three builders/supervisors over that time, due to changes in the organization, the acquisition of our builder by Lennar Homes nationally, and changing building codes.
Mostly we lost a lot of time because the first project manager just didn't keep up with changing regulations by the city (resulting in 6 months in delay to catalog saguaro cactus). Then they didn't quite plan how to create a building pad (because of hillside development) appropriately. Finally, there was a nation-wide backlog in available concrete and building materials (another 2-3 months. Luckily for him, the builder/PM got promoted.
Even in the beginning, it seemed like the builder just did not have enough base support. E.g., they have a lot but limited set of options even for a semi-custom home, but they never really put much of the info about the options into their option planning & pricing software. This is just raw data input ($10/hr at worst) that could have saved them quite a bit of time researching.
When you consider that they were trying to do semi-custom homes alongside their regular subdivision homes (with more limited choices), it seemed more like an afterthought than proper planning.
But I'm beginning to understand why large homebuilders these days prefer to do subdivisions with limited options/ modifications, and why there are so many of these subdivisions around. A friend calls them unimaginative "pink ghettos".
I guess sacrificing some uniqueness for the sake of getting a home built quickly might have been a good idea.
I was talking to Bobby Woolf earlier today regarding the different generations of what we all call the Web. Bobby blogged on Web 2.0, the current conversation on a move from a focus on content to one around APIs. There are blog sites, conferences and other activities all around how services are present the great idea of how to work with the Web.
Bobby describes three generations:
I've tested the Web since 1990, starting with a very early
text-based browser that Berners-Lee first released that predated even Lynx. Then Mosaic, Mosaic 2.0, Netscape's alpha browsers, Netscape Navigator, Spyglass Mosaic, HotJava (Sun's original Java-based browser), Opera, Mozilla, and a few others. Over the years, I think there were probably a few other "generations" that came and went:
The benefit of the services Web is that it ties applications in more obvious and neutral ways that specific programming APIs, scripting languages and plug-ins. More significantly as Bobby indicated it brings a widely considered design pattern of the Model-View-Controller (the Observor-Observable pattern to be accurate); the separation of a presentation element from a communicating element and the execution elements of the design. Most programmers are familar with it and its benefits. The news now is that business people are beginning to take notice of its benefits too.
PS: Know any other trends in information presentation and interaction on the Web that came, went or stuck-around?
In looking at @prem_k’s
mindmap on social learning today, I spent a few minutes considering what events
can be measured relative to this topic. Unfortunately, I cannot embed the
diagram in this blog but please take a look at his
I came up with the following measurable elements and hopefully most are self-explanatory. The mechanics of how you actually measure these items can very from trivial counting exercises to some fairly complicated metrics for mapping networks and measuring influence and sentiment. However, I think most of it has been done before, perhaps just not applied specifically to learning and pedagogy. So who’s up to that challenge?
I’m also just starting on Marcia Conner (@marciamarcia) and Tony Bingham’s book, The New Social Learning (ASTD & Berrett-Koehler, Sep 2010), and I expect I’ll be learning a lot from it too.
- disemmination relative to origin (generalized SN diagram)
- disemmination of topics across overall network (generalized SN diagram)
- rate & velocity of disemmination
- Resharing/promoting (e.g. RT, citing, linking)
- Acknowledging/rating (e.g. +1, stars)
- Relationship effects - Friending/following/connecting, or unfollowing/negative externalities/outcomes
- Searching / search results (text, tags, social searches)
Information organization patterns
- Adding tags, metadata
- Formalism, creating definitions, dictionary/encyclopedic entries
Recall patterns (after some period of time from original creation)
- Citing, linking
- Searching / in search results
- Commenting-adding info
- Repurposing content (into new channels, new formats)
Metadata about on learning network
- Demographics/segmentation of overall network / population and of participants in a networked learning activity
- Topic popularity, aging, trends over time
- Share of total voice on subject per content source/person
- influencers and detection
If you are attending Enterprise2.0 conference next week in Boston, here are some of the events that I will be at. I may session-hop because there is just too much to see. Our BlueIQ Social software adoption will be all around the event, and even Gina Poole, our VP will be there.
8:30am – 4:15pm, Black Belt Practitioners Workshop
4:30-6pm, Evening in the Cloud
Sean Poulley, VP Online Collaboration Services
3:30-4:30pm, Lotus Enterprise Collaboration and Productivity
Kevin Cavanaugh, VP Messaging and Collaboration
12:00-12:45pm (after lunch), Social Networking for Business Book Signing/Giveaway & Nurturing BlueIQ: Enterprise 2.0 Adoption in IBM Whitepaper release – at IBM Booth on expo floor.
1-2pm, Evolution of E2.0 at IBM: The Frustrations and the Glory
Jeanne Murray and Rawn
2:30-3pm, A quick chat/meetup around my book Social Networking for Business, at IBM Booth
3:30-4:30pm, Social Behavior, Usage Patterns and Adoption
David Millen, IBM Research
There are also SweetTweets--Yay! Candy! as my 3yr old would say--at the booth during most of the show.
Other interesting sessions to go see:
- Rachel Happe, You say Social Media I say Community, Does it Matter? Tues 3:30-4:30pm
- Marcia Conner’s panel on Social Learning, Thurs 10:45-11:45pm
- Kathleen Culver, Greg Lowe’s The Dark Side of E2.0 Wed 8-8:45pm
Unfortunately with conflicts, I’ll miss some sessions that seem interesting:
- Rob Howard’s Strategic Analytics on Wed 2:15pm-3:15pm
- Mike Gotta’s Standards panel also on Wed 2:15pm-3:15pm
- Dion Hinchcliffe’s Establishing ROI panel, Wed 3:30-4:30pm
Like everyone, I’ll probably be posting on and off about what I see and hear at the conference.
As I mentioned on twitter, my peer Jeanne Murray and I are presenting a session at the Enterprise2.0 conference in Boston next week that describes an overall view of how we think e2.0 has evolved in our organization. The focus here is not on the technologies themselves but on the human capabilities, interests, and mindset as it has evolved over time. It talks about what we used to think about social computing and how that as changed or evolved with each stage.
This sort of view on evolution is not something that is absolutely decisive. With a multinational organization such as ours, it does not necessarily mean that every corner of the organization is at the same level. The reality is that many locations are still at Stage 1 while others are very well into the later stages. We use the stages to describe how some groups have progressed in their thinking and approach to how they employ social computing in their work.
I don’t plan to describe the entire presentation here but I wanted to share the intention of our session and give an example of a stage. In discussing the idea, Jeanne and I formulated five stages of this evolution:
- Stage 1 – Seeing a need for social computing in business
- Stage 2 – Recognizing the business uses and value
- Stage 3 – Bringing people together into a common frame
- Stage 4 – Building better social-enabled processes
- Stage 5 – Shifting the overall perspective to a dynamic, agile mindset
For example, we entered Stage 2 when the mindset (in stage 1) progressed beyond thinking of social computing as something just for personal entertainment or for kids into recognizing the business potential. Within this stage, people have accepted there is a business need, but are still unsure about how or where it applies in specific use.
The focus in stage 2 is to articulate value and use cases. To do so, we needed to connect people’s expertise and collect stories of their successful use cases. The glories of reaching this stage is that people are starting to become more connected beyond the possibilities of their existing location and organizational position; there are open networks and freer exchange of ideas; and new social-enabled tasks are vetted simply the degree of their adoption.
However, we also saw in this stage that the number of repositories and ways of describing and sharing expertise were exploding. There were multiple options for doing tasks in social tools, and people needed guidance on which ones made most sense. Our wide diversity of tools simply increased the many streams of information, and often randomness of information and people.
Stage 2 has some people starting to connect, but a recognition that for enterprise 2.0 to be valuable to the company itself (and not just on an individual level), we need to consider how we get the larger organization to do this all together (stage 3). This next transformation requires looking beyond how individuals benefit from social computing, to how groups and org units can work as a whole with this system.
Stage 3 then picks up from trying to unite the infrastructure and tooling, as well as clarifying what to use when.
I hope to see some of you at Enterprise 2.0. Our
session is on Wednesday June 16th at 1-2pm (twitter hashtag #e2conf-34).
We will post the slides next week for others to see as well.
For our social computing metrics system, we have the ability to see how people act on others contributions. For example, given one person’s post, we can tell who is sharing, tagging and sometimes reading it, with identities of all. This can tell us how much a person is impacting those around them, who and how.
[Note: From an enterprise measurement viewpoint who the individuals are is not important but you need their ID to key off other demographics such as their job roles, geographic location, or organizational location. This might be of interest to each person, but I’m looking at the gestalt of the organization. Also this is information we are allowed to see per privacy guidelines.]
This leads to several possibilities, given person X’s post. The first set is diversity of reach:
a) What job roles are consuming their data
b) Where in the organization are the consumers from
c) Given a single post how much consumption is happening; and what’s the average per post
On the business level, this can tell us a lot about how well the organization is connected, and if the expected views of what job roles rely on others is actually occurring and how much. For example, sales people working with their sales engineers or seeking domain knowledge experts. It can show how far they reach across the organization, and what other roles they connected to that were not expected. For example, sales people in Slovenia working with Researchers in Israel.
The second set may look at secondary effects. Given person X posts, and person Y shares or tags, who is Person Z that eventually consumes it.
a) What job roles (persons’ Z) are the end consumers
b) Where in the org they come from
c) How much and what’s the average.
d) Is there additional resharing or retagging
This extends the first set by looking at eventual impact from the source.
So far, I’ve just talked about one path of action from a creator (source) to a consumer (sink).The next level is to look across many actions on if there is bidirectional interaction happening between the roles. This looks for ‘lasting’ relationships based on continued bidirectional interaction. This can happen in immediate sequence (e.g., I post, someone replies to me, I reply back, and so on); or it can be delayed sequence of events (e.g., I post, someone reads/tags it, a week later they send something else through a different social tool).
Here we are looking beyond immediate or unidirectional consumption, towards the idea of if people are forming lasting relationships.
Notice for one that I didn’t even say that it was necessary for people to friend each other before any of this happens. In fact, I think that friending action while certainly making it obvious is highly variable. Some people consider friending to identity those who they have lasting relationships with, but others use it simply to keep track of people they are watching rather than have any interaction with. The difference lies in the bidirectional vs. unidirectional relationship there. In other cases, some folks never actually friend others but certainly interact with them, therefore indicating a relationship.
Why is this any different than SNA (social network analysis) tools? Perhaps it’s the limitation of the SNA tools I have found in terms of the level of demographics and granularity they can show. For example, some do not show the demographics I need because they simply don’t contain that info, or don’t understand which demographics are useful for business reasons.
In terms of granularity, most SNA tools can show the structure for each person; i.e., the relationships and interactions between person X and those around them, but I need info about the aggregate level of everyone of one demographic (e.g. job category), and the relationships they form. This is beyond most SNA tools today.
The biggest part is that it takes a lot of data collection
and number crunching over many, many people to even begin to analyze this. This is beyond System level metrics (how many users, how many documents), or object level (how much activity per person or object), but goes into the meta level that we would like to understand. This is also only one aspect of many others.
On the business side, the goal is to better understand the connections across our organization, and where we can try to focus energies to improve communications or encourage interaction. It is using information from social systems to create a smarter organization. For enterprise 2.0 to become a success, it is not just about empowering individuals to use social computing systems, but it is to make the organization itself function better.
Can you be a traditional hierarchy and also an open social collaborative organization simultaneously?
rawn 100000R0P5 Tags:  hierarchial transformation collaboration transition traditional social 7,139 Views
When people think of developing leadership in social environments, they often think of it in terms of a person developing their own skills in leadership (1) versus how the group itself executes (2). These are two different things.
In particular, in my chapter on leadership models in Social Networking for Business, it is not focused on #1 individual leadership skills, but rather on #2, how to consider what the right model is for leadership in a given social experience. As said many times before, leadership in a community experience is very different than that in individual social experiences (e.g., your own blog, or profile page).
In a way, these models are much more “tactical” in the view that they are what you might apply to one particular social environment instance (e.g. the Durian-lovers community, Rawn Shah’s blog). These tactical models may still run for years, and are not necessarily short-term—what we often equate with tactical situations.
A strategic view, on the other hand, is from the eyes someone
or some team overseeing the Enterprise 2.0 ecosystem of all the social environment
instances. In many cases, they may be looking at thousands or millions of them
within the same organization. In the strategic view, you could consider how
many applications of each of the tactical leadership models exist. This gives
you an idea of how well the people across the organization are ‘skilled’--building their skills per #1 in online social environments--in
working in particular leadership models.
From an employee’s point of view, if you have never worked in a workgroup of one particular leadership model, it takes a bit of time to learn and understand how it works. It will require it anyway, because each instance may have its own particular nuances and variances. However, my point is that the employee understands the differences in working in different such tactical leadership models, so they can contribute or lead the group more effectively.
These are the soft skills of leadership that we often talk about, but here in terms of tangible concepts.
Furthermore, from the strategic view, this also shows that you can have an effective Enterprise 2.0 collaborative system with high degrees of autonomy, without needing to completely transform the structure of your overall organization. What the employees are essentially agreeing on is that within their many online collaborative instances, they will work as agreed within each instance. The overall organization is still free to change and transform, but it is possible to be both an open social collaborative organization; yet still maintain the traditional structure, as long as both covenants allow and support each other’s approaches and needs.
When you consider how relationship development is at the heart of social computing and enterprise 2.0, it should be natural to consider the career and leadership development of your employees in this context. This opens up new areas of thought into what it means to influence and lead others through an entirely digital medium rather than when you have a face-to-face leader. In my Forbes article (on Apr 16), I describe it as digital eminence to differentiate from one's leadership activities and capabilities through non-virtual environments--often amusingly referred to as "in real life", IRL for short).
The best way that I have found to describe it is in terms of how do people understand, appreciate and recognize your expertise, knowledge and skills through online interactions. This could be anywhere online, even email and chat, but it becomes more visible in social computing environments. I also like to separate this idea from personal brand building. While conceptually you are actually bringing out how you are different and significant from other people--even perhaps Seth Godin's notion of a linchpin in your organization--brand building also harks of self-promotion and ego-stroking. Digital eminence emphasizes what others think of you and your abilities, which may or may not have anything to do with self-promotion.
A second danger is in trying to quantify what is essentially a qualitative assessment. We should be very careful in considering number of followers, friends in your network, or quantity of posts as an indication of one's digital eminence. When you consider eminence as how you stand out, essentially a comparison versus the aggregate group of others in the same field, it may be seen as a ranking. Similarly, such quantity metrics also reinforce this ranking and rating approach. That raises lots of ethical questions when you look at it per individual.
rawn 100000R0P5 5,054 Views
[Please note: I will replace this post with the recording and file links. ]
A quick note, I’ll be presenting an “Intro to Enterprise 2.0” to the Univ of Arizona MIS 527 graduate class on Enterprise Information Systems today. Since folks have asked, I’ve decided to open the presentation to others. If you are interested in listening, this will be available by telephone and/or webcast at the following sites.
Topic: Introduction to Enterprise 2.0
Audience: Graduate students, general interest
Start: 12:30pm Pacific Time, 3:30pm ET , Wednesday 4/15/10
End: 2pm PT/5pm ET
Note: You can either dial into the audio conference call or listen to it over the web from the Web conference (in addition to the slides). The web conference will ask you which one you’re using so it can mute the audio if necessary.
Please do go on mute (on your phone or press *6) unless you have a comment, question.
Passcode: 110 525 6441#
Web conference (no password required):
for IBMers, please use use:
Just a quick note, I uploaded my "Intro to Enterprise2.0" presentation to the UofArizona MIS graduate class in "Enterprise Information Systems".
The slides talk about the general topics in this area, how this is a business and a technical issue, and describes traditional MIS focus areas impacted by Enterprise 2.0.
It is available at: http://bit.ly/al9eGs
In working recently on the topic of leadership and decision making processes in social environments, I thought I'd clarify something per my book. Quite often I see these decision-making methods split into simple categories--centralized versus marketplace (or distributed)--when there is so much more. Additionally, the way how people work to produce results is not the same as who is involved in making the decisions.
One milling question from those who’ve looked closely at my book, Social Networking for Business, is that leadership and decision-making processes seem to appear in two different areas: the chapter 3 “Leadership in Social environments” and then later again in the section “Describing the Form of Aggregation” in Chapter 4 on Social Tasks. I should explain the key differences here.
Chapter 3 focuses on six different common leadership models: Centralized, Centralized w/ Input, Delegated, Representative, Starfish and Swarm. These models focus on who is allowed to participate in the decision making process, set direction for the social group, and select leaders. These range from those with very strongly centered to very distributed leadership.
The Aggregation methods on the other hand describe how these decisions are made or this work executed: Independent, Autonomous, Consensus, Deliberative, and Combative. These again are alternatives to each other to create results.
Certain pairs are more likely to occur: e.g., a swarm is likely to use the Independent aggregation where only the combined results (voting) across many members result in a single value. A delegated model is likely to have autonomous decisions spread across the different domains delegated across the leaders.
The moral here:
The folks over at The Community Roundtable have released a new report on The State of Community Management which I thought was quite good.
A key takeaway from this report that I find quite revealing: it contradicts the common belief that all communities develop into a 90-9-1 rule (90% lurkers, 9% contributors, 1% authors). Per the report: “As the community management discipline matures, there is increasing understanding of where certain rules of thumb like this apply and where they do not.” I've once looked at the origins of this meme, and other than the Pareto principle, in online communities it dates back to specific posts in a Usenet newsgroup around the early 1990s. I need to find that link again. We now think of much more than just contributors and lurkers since there are many other ways to contribute as well which are not so obvious. That is a distinguishing mark that elevates the level of insight that this report brings above others.
What thrills me is that of the eight competency areas within, only on area focuses on tools. The majority of the focus lies in business principles: strategy, leadership, culture, policies, etc. The general media and blogosphere is always fascinated with new tools and toys but the real value is in understanding the almost unchanging business principles many of which are outlined in the list of competences. Each of the sections on these competencies specifically identifies lessons learned directly from the real life experience of members of The Community Roundtable.
I've talked before about the value that community managers bring to organizations, so I have to point out a specific section the role and issues of Community Management which can help current organizations understand the heavy demands of this role. Perhaps, with this insight, more organizations will take to heart that Community Management is not a part time, or a junior role in the organization. It takes a lot of people and relationship skills that develop with experience, and in doing so creates the same qualities we ask of our business leaders.