I have to say the whole E2.0 thing leaves me a bit cold.

When we deployed blogs, wikis and forums at the BBC we kept the tools separate and kept them simple. I would still maintain that it is important to keep social tools in the enterprise simple. Most people I meet find the whole thing confusing and I am often told how intimidating they find Sharepoint and even Jive.

The important thing is not to have shiny, state of the art, tools but to have people using them. You have to do everything it takes to reduce barriers to entry.

8 thoughts on “KISS

  1. Totally agree that it's important to keep things as simple as possible but I don't think that's an argument against integrated suites such as Sharepoint, Jive etc. The problem with separate tools is you end up with information silos which aren't connected together and hence the conversations are either spread across multiple systems or worse, siloed into single ones and not visible to others. This isn't a problem in small active communities because the "glue" conversations happen in the real world but as distribution gets greater that glue falls apart and you may as well revert to email (ugh). In my head I always come back to the watercooler. If we're all gathered around the watercooler talking and listening, we can all participate in sharing knowledge, debate, providing ideas, thinking critically about what others have said etc. If we're having private meetings in little rooms, we loose that. To me, the problem with these big E2.0 systems isn't (in every case) their complexity it's that in most cases the people using them are dropped in the deep end of the complexity instead of introduced to the "tools" they provide one at a time and allowed to understand if/how that tool can help them.That and the fact that they still have to manage another extremely labour intensive (and often complex) information silo… email. Honestly, at a greenfield site, I'd be happier putting in a Jive (or sharepoint) and no email system (except perhaps some hook for my E2.0 to do external email comms… if I really must…) instead of the usual IT estate which we seem to end up with including email, intranet, file servers, web-sites and (if we're lucky) wikis, blogs, forums etc.


  2. I am afraid I disagree Joe. People link from one tool to the next and form their own structure and meaning. This is very much related to my Milton Keynes story. It is the very attempt to make things easier that in fact makes things harder. Behaviours don't revert to email disfunction if everything is done in the open which should be the default for all new tools.


  3. I think (for once! shock! horror!) we'll have to agree to disagree then. :)I understand and agree with what you're saying if we think in the immediacy of the now, with a discrete group of people. The meaning and structure can be formed by the individuals involved at that time. However, when we look outside the immediate (time and people) that meaning can't (necessarily) be inferred by someone coming new to the conversation or even someone involved in it at the time reviewing it for historical background at a later stage having long since forgotten the structure, context and meaning they put on it at the time.I think that's where I see benefit in integrated solutions, you not only have tools to enable the conversation and capture it for posterity but importantly, to record that essential context as well.I guess we should make sure we don't conflate "integration" with complexity. Things can be integrated and not be complex (or not *too* complex) or indeed vice versa. For example: I don't find Jive to be any more complex than, for example, Facebook (and surely that can't be too complex since 7% of the planet can use it). Sharepoint, on the other hand, I can't seem to get my head around. The structures and form can still be malleable (for me, unstructured taxonomies like "tagging" are the key – which most E2.0 systems allow) but should be captured somehow (IMHO).


  4. Still not understanding why context for my blog post relies on someone else "imposing" a structure on it over and above the one I give it by linking to and from other content. I lost the structure argument on our forum at the Beeb and it got "improved" by lots of structure. This made something simply complicated and most of the structure lay hardly used while we all stayed in the unstructured space which we labelled the water cooler.


  5. I totally agree with the KISS principle here, but I also understand that by the time IT or even the Business gets its hands on it, something more complex usually evolves.What I advised, and what we tried to incorporated into our strategy was some simple principles. For example, when incorporating wiki's, we looked at lowering the barriers to participation as a key driver (enabling single sign on, enabling integration with email, etc) and as more and more people started using it, we "enabled" more features….


  6. This is closer to my day-job interests these days. I tend to agree with Euan on the simple attractive "modular" components, with the integration established by human mediation, rather than a too integrated whole.The key to making this work is that the modules do support (simple) integration & interface standards (RSS, OWL, Vocabularies, etc.), so that non-IT humans can create (and control) the integrations they really value.


  7. If they're too simple then they won't work though there's some sweet results to be had with just using microblogging from Yammer and SocialCast – both keep it pretty simple. Jive takes more work in terms of evangelism, SharePoint a lot more & across the board in terms of dev and upkeep. What really matters though is that/if the tools connect with what people do and the culture of the place. And here's the rub, it's not always obvious how they might work, nor do management understand how they might – so they need fostering and acceptance, both from on high and at the sharp end. All that takes work, both with the bosses and with the workers, and lots of it.


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