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Author's profile photo Holger Stumm

From Twitterville to Ghosttown – are social media here to stay? (Part 1)

The Web of Social, the web of Twitters, Facebooks and blogs took a turn recently. On the one side, on the side of numbers, hundreds of millions of people are in Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. On the other side, large companies are just starting to think, if this could be of any value. To answer the second question first, most of the (large) companies I know (and since this is SAP world, most of the companies in this ecosystem are big) are more than reluctant . On the people side, most of the people love it and enjoy their facebook sites, Twitter messages and flickr pictures.

And you hear more and more from people, mostly leaders in the sense of SDN community and the orc battle for Helm’s Down  and  Ergodicity , who take a break from all the socializing in the web (“What is more value: 1.7000 followers on twitters or two great longtime friends, where you can have a drink Friday night in your favorite bar to start into the weekend?”)

But do they really need to meet,, these worlds, the people world of twitter and the corporate world of intranets gone social?

As most of the time in IT, the Gartner “Cycle of Hype”  turns out to be true.


The people world is on top of the hype, powering the “Inflated expectations”.  Twitter rakes in users by the millions and Facebook is everywhere. Twitter seems to turn onto profit lane, it started showing advertising tweets for coffee and more. They announced their own twitter client, probably their own pictures service and their own URL-shortener service. Obviously it is time for money.

The corporate site probably never adopted the “Hype phase” and started with “Disillusion” – a better word here would be “Denial”.  In the last time, I did a lot of Twitter and I start getting addicted to it. But the questions around me, from professionals and executive alike was “Why?” . Litterally nobody on the busy side of profit-making  is using Twitter, not to mention the rest of the social web. And my project lead was raising the eyebrow everytime he noticed my Twitter client.

They are all too busy providing consulting service, programming or leading companies.

They are all stuck in Real Life.

Fast forward – I think we need to come to “Real World” scenarios. It is time to take the hype out of the social media web and look at the real benefit. For sure  it is not beneficial for the business world to participate in watercooler talks on Twitter like  “Need to bring my child to the dentist” or “Quick lunch at Starbucks”. This is indeed universal, private noise.  It is of interest for maybe 3 people out of 150 million.

There is a rule of thumb for tweets at Twitter and that is, you need to add value to a sentence. “Child at dentist” is private noise, but “child at dentist – see how to manage crisis at http://bit.lyxy/”  adds value to every listener by providing further insights and valuable reading.  Or Tim O’Reillys favorite special offer every other day: “Today for sale at OReillyBookstore: Best Book for 9.99 to download enter coupon code TWIT” .  Besides his excellent other tweets (the reason to follow him in the first place), is that everybody loves goodies.

There are a lot of great ideas around the usage of Twitter, Facebook and other medias. But first, it is important for business to take the incredible amount of noise out of the hype and look foreward to real use in corporations. Their slow adoption is probably the best value they can add to the social media discussion. Only the oyster pearls at the end will be taken into the portfolio of Enterprise IT and the other oysters (without the pearl) can be eaten by consumers . But his is fine for me as enterprise architect as well as consumer – Twitter is fun anyway, as oysters are, with our without purpose.

What does it mean for SAP besides this Affinity Group ? SAP has multiple stakes in the game. One is sdn as one of the biggest and vivids corporate communities. The other is an ERP system for large companies and soon for small to midsize companies, which allows to create a “web of companies” . —

When ghosttowns went up in clouds (Part II )

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