Archive for the 'Social Media' Category



Making the Value Proposition Viral … uh, Organic

Greg Berry just posted a useful list called “Five Rules for Social Networks.”  It contains useful ideas such as making sure that there’s a clear value proposition for users to connect with others and getting others to connect with them.

In some social networks, the “gift” is “we get to be more closely connected”.  This is appealing especially to millennials who like maximum, always-together connectivity with their friends.

For older folks and “serious” professionals, the gift is sometimes harder to convey.  You invite your friend.  Your friend signs up but doesn’t have a clue what to do, or more important, why to care.

LinkedIn, which serves the older group, has a very clear value proposition for professionals, but still the value proposition often doesn’t come across in the invitation or initial visit to the site.  To finally try to fix this LinkedIn has recently announced a new “Learning Center” where new, and old, users can go to understand better what exactly they can do, and why.  One of the best resources on the learning center are two new very short but very clear videos on how and why professionals can use LinkedIn.  It’s very easy to send these to people you know.

The overview video is in two parts, but you can see them both together in this LinkedIn blog post.   Or use these two YouTube links:

Part I http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pXWrHN0elg

Part II http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ofuNt6Abk

BTW, I still like “viral” because it really means “contagious”.  If something good is contagious, that’s good.  Otherwise, bad.

Mountain Top Removal and Social Media

How is it that 66% of West Virginians are against mountain top removal, and yet their state legislature, which they elect, can’t (won’t) pass a decent law to stop it?

Does this have something to do with social media? Mountain top media? The media is on the top of the mountain and we’re way down here? Not enough connections?

Not just a West Virginia problem.   And yet, greed, though frustrating and baffling, is not the cause.  And we are not bad because we are ignorant and not well enough able to connect the dots.   We are connecting them; and it is getting clearer that this is in the interest of each and every individual bundle of experience and desires, and not just of a few.

Organizations Amplify Social Capital

Organizations are social capital amplifiers. They collect social capital from the networks of all of their employees, funding sources, board members, partners, advisors, volunteers, donors, consumers, and suppliers. They can then focus social capital on a tightly integrated array of crucial projects that in turn affect the success of the whole organization.

Social media campaigns use social networks as a medium for broadcasting a message or collective action. This is “pushing power to the edges.”

Social capital networks also enable collecting and focusing social capital to accomplish precise tasks of a single team or a single professional working for the organization. This is collecting power from the edges to accomplish work needed in the center.

On the one hand, social media campaigns are becoming well used and understood. (For example, see Momentum: Igniting Social Change in a Connected Age.” On the other hand, using extended social capital networks to get work done within the center of organizations is less well understood and adopted – except by a relative few “networkers” in the organization. Likewise, the tools that can enhance extended social capital applications are far too under-used, largely because of lack of knowledge and focus on why or how to use them. As a result, this means that organizations can currently tap only a tiny fraction of their available social capital.

For more on social capital applications for organizations, networks, and multi-centered meta networks see:

Recent blog post on Types of Social Capital Applications

Short paper: Amplifying Social Capital in Organizations and Networks

Recent blog post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Usefulness for Organizations

Types of Social Capital Applications

Types of Social Capital, originally uploaded by DuncanWork.

The chart above shows four types of social capital that organizations can make use of. The four types are based on whether the social capital is collected and applied internally or externally, or in combination.

The chart also includes a partial list of different social media (“tools”) that can be used to enhance application of social capital in these four arenas.

“Externally derived” (or collected) means that the social capital is coming from trusted, reciprocal relationships that are outside of the organization; and “internally derived” means that the social capital comes from relationships that are inside the core organization.

Also, note that here I’m using the term “social capital” to refer to the help that people give each other freely (not based on contracts or financial exchanges) because of trusted personal relationships, shared values, affinity. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to financial capital that is invested based on social reasons rather than pure financial returns.

How useful is this way of looking at social capital?  My next post will also say more about this, and my earlier post on the different strengths of Facebook and LinkedIn also touches on this.

Presence – What is it?

A couple of days ago I saw a blog post from February (Mike Stenhouse, Trampoline Systems) that declared that (paraphrasing) “Twitter has replaced Facebook for me. It gives me everything I want from Facebook: Presence (stream from my friends). But on Facebook, I have to login a few times a day – their walled garden. But with Twitter: 24/7 Presence!”

What is the numinous appeal of Presence!

Is it a kind of love? Entertaining distraction? Sense of connectedness? The emerging Global Brain? Celebration of both uniqueness and common humanness?

Why? 20 -100 messages in a day (more?) from 10 different people (more?), some close, many not, some brilliant, many not. Why is this so comforting, stimulating, welcome?

Well, for one thing – it is attention from people I care about (and maybe some others) that requires absolutely nothing in return. Pure appreciation. I see it, laugh, nod, puzzle, or ignore it because, y’know, I’m really in the middle of something else – in fact in the middle of several things, and I have only so many neurons. But fine, keep it coming – feed my spare cycles – and soul – with quirk, you-ness, and relationship.

Is this what it is? (I’m still figuring it out.)

Facebook, LinkedIn, and usefulness in Organizations

Prediction by Charles Armstrong of Trampoline Systems (from January – I just found it thanks to a friend): In 2008 “Many companies will commission pilots of “Facebook for the enterprise”. Most will fail to deliver any value.” He gives two reasons: 1) Consumer networking techniques don’t work for the enterprise, 2) “the pilots will too often be set up without connection to a pressing business problem. This means there will be little urgency around the use of the new tools and little benefit to employees from adopting them.”

I agree. But I would bet that many, including Trampoline Systems, are working on integrations between private enterprise apps and the more “public” consumer platforms. The two types of platforms need each other in order to reach their full potential.

Facebook and LinkedIn are both ‘consumer’ platforms, but they each have very different strengths to contribute to applications for organizations and private networks. Facebook is great for social campaigns and “pushing power to the edges” – using the network of the organization (or cause) to spread messages and collective behavior. This is why so many NGOs are using Facebook.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, isn’t so good for social campaigns – which come across as too much like spam to LinkedIn users, partly because it doesn’t have the right tools. But LinkedIn is infinitely better for using trusted connections for traditional, high-value professional purposes – getting jobs; finding funding; finding, reference checking and landing new employees, experts and prospective partners; getting new intelligence, and gathering influence. Facebook can’t do these because it lacks a decent professional profile database, and it doesn’t have the search tools for finding people 3 degrees out. LinkedIn can almost be used as-is by organizations – if only they knew how and why. Trampoline Systems can obviously add features that can make LinkedIn’s global network a lot more useful, without giving up control over private data.


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