Admit it. The last team meeting you attended had ‘time built in’ between sessions or before a networking dinner to…. do some emails!
This seems like a very unnatural activity to me. Emails tend to be time sensitive or they tend to be informational, read largely irrelevant. Think about it, when you come back from vacation to 500+ emails, how many turn out to have been irrelevant over the course of a week and get instantly deleted.
These emails are not harmless, they are stealing your time, cluttering up your brain! This report on the issues of email got me thinking, is it time we killed off email? Work Communication needs to be more conversational, more instant, just like personal communications. Herald the rise of the social enterprise.
A switch to a conversational communication platform is not without problems. Most obvious, how many remote distinct conversations can one person conduct simultaneously? How do you create remote presence that is meaningful to the other conversation participants? How do you manage the potential chaos and keep a record of the important points and actions?
Challenges notwithstanding, social has merit and makes me think it’s time to at least examine the use of email for corporate communications. What do you think?
Does the answer to more sophisticated, thereby more complex, corporate communications lies in how we interact with our devices. This could provide an added dimension to tools such as Instant Messaging. Address the challenges by enabling more natural parallel processing of conversation en mass ‘ala’ Tom Cruise in Minority Report.
This could enable us to build task lists, take notes and calendar appointments from an IM environment. There are such technologies on the cusp of main stream adoption. Microsoft Kinect has been around a while in the gaming sector or take the example of Leap, a not so far away technology that claims to have figured out to create an interaction space around your computer, in 3D.
Could this be a technology solution to manage the complexity of multiple Instant Message or other social technology driven conversations? Could human device interface provide the key to capture actions, organize and sift through Information from virtual conversations? Interesting thought, but right now I’m not using this type of hardware and don’t know anyone who is, so not relevant… yet.
So having dismissed Sc-Fi like 3D spatial device interaction as been a little way off, let’s return to the social enterprise. I notice lots of buzz outside in communications been a byproduct of social. This led me to think, who is the audience for work communications and actually what is the social enterprise exactly?
Audience is a key question. Is the audience our colleagues? Maybe in the connected world it’s actually everyone who wants to be involved, whenever they want to be involved. That seems simple and logical, and I like simple and logical! There is a shift happening from organizational broadcasting to interacting across organizational boundaries. Suddenly the moniker customer, vendor, consumer seem irrelevant when talking about communications in a more human and conversational tone. Is this the real essence of the social enterprise?
I also hear lots of hype around crowd sourcing. What is that? It seems like a tangent to my original question as it seems to be inbound, but hang on, isn’t that a key attribute of the social enterprise too?
Social media seems to have the ability to change everything. The way we discuss products and services we like. The speed at which a brand can be built or destroyed.
Want proof? More people I know talk about Facebook that Coca Cola, despite the fact Facebook has only been around less than 10 years. These social conversations are happening now. They are driving traditional media and changing the way companies interact with customers and design products. This is the essence of crowd sourcing and a key component of social media.
A comprehensive definition of social media seems elusive today. But if it’s completely different from email, can it replace email? Social Media is more than just monitoring your Twitter handle or Facebook page. It’s the rise of the social influencer, crowd sourcing, sentiment analysis and much more change than most organizations are equipped to handle.
Take this innovative new ‘inbound marketing’ model, offered by Hubspot. Such models represent a revolution in tech marketing, a discipline that changed slowly in my 15 year tech career. And this is just the start of the Social Enterprise Revolution!
What can we conclude? Through history we learned that new media doesn’t replace old media. Video, did not kill the radio star as the song says, and the Internet did not kill Newspapers and Magazines.
It’s also unlikely Social Media or any other method of communication will replace email. I never really thought it would, but the idea I find fascinating. I’m not sure we even fully understand the social enterprise and its impact on communications yet, it feels too early in the development of the segment.
Social is still evolving at lightning speed. But hopefully Social will reduce the blatant misuse of email as the panacea of work communications and herald in a new era of more human communications in business.
The real question is not if we will kill off email but what is the social enterprise, and how will it drive innovation in the way we work. I don’t get the impression anyone has completely nailed what the ‘steady state’, looks like. I’d love to hear your thoughts on social, leave a comment and let’s see if we can enrich the debate!