Even for the deep thinkers talking to businesses about online collaboration, it’s still mostly about how to sell.

There is increasing interest in how to accelerate user adoption and business value proof for enterprise social platforms and networks (ESNs). Charlene Li recently wrote that low levels of usage growth are partly down to leaders failing to get involved and demonstrate that participation in these platforms is valuable. This is almost certainly a major factor, but we believe that adoption in many companies has slowed down because of a failure to demonstrate clear business value from the ways of working these platforms makes possible.

via Announcing our new ESN Diagnostics Service | POST*SHIFT.

Really? Are we still mostly spending our time trying to find new ways of actually getting the people with the money to hire us (Diagnostics -> something’s wrong -> we can help)?

There are some quotes also in the linked article (‘Why Nobody Uses The Corporate Social Network’) that I thought we’d moved on from.

We’re still sucking up to the guys with the money when they finally come around to actually hiring any of us, still allowing them to think JUST throwing money at getting people to collaborate, without having any experience of change and learning themselves, will make a difference, and it’s still failing in the same old ways.

I’m convinced that the only way anything will actually work is if the first people we work with, and get to be good at using their online voices, are the people in the room when we pitch. It should be common sense, after all, they tend to be the ones whose thoughts and opinions on things other people actually care about, no?

‘Speak for Yourself’ is me trying to write about the need to start anything aimed at collaboration, both internal and external, by going into the organisation and having a conversation about improving collective and individual online identities. And starting any projects by creating the kind of atmosphere that will result in genuine expertise and personal experience of being online, actually extending our humanity. That then results both in working better together and telling better stories. Bosses have to get this and finally stop asking for business justification for spending money on this.

The book also tells individuals how to bridge the gap between current, fractured approaches and the big bosses eventually catching up.

It’s not JUST about internal networks – having a good, comfortable use of online communications is vital (and at this stage shouldn’t require a business case any more). And we can help.  If we can just get over trying to find new ways of making it make sense to ‘the enterprise’.

I keep trying to make this blog post sound less angry – but I am angry. I admire Lee Bryant from PostShift so much and I thought he was using his considerable authority in the field to help people get it, rather than trying to find new ways of selling to people who don’t.


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