Oct 08

Sweettt.com – Episode 8 – Inside and Outside the Firewall – Part 1 of August 22nd Discussion

Wordle for Sweettt 8 - Inside & Outside the Firewall
Wordle for Sweettt 8 - Inside & Outside the Firewall
Why in the world should we have blogging within the firewall for the corporation?  Why shouldn’t we have all blogging out there on the internet?  In this episode, Matt Simpson & Luis Suarez explore some of the interpersonal dynamics caused by internal vs external blog environment.  What are the trade offs when you decide to have a blog that is entirely internal?  Some people will only disclose certain things internally, because of their comfort zone.  That simple fact sets the foundation for the the legitimacy of corporate blogging & social computing.

Luis also walks us through a number of reasons why blogging & social computing is appropriate and vital part of the internal enterprise workplace.  In fact, there are 5 reasons outlined in the show notes (below).

This part of the August 22 discussion finishes with an anecdote where a group of stakeholders were evaluating innovation as a closed group, but the decision to open up the reviews to a community at large resulted in high quality input.

00:00 START

00:30 Lead in…
01:15 Opening chat… getting into the discussion… (Luis keeps typing…)
01:30 So, Mark Masterson is interested in joining us (but we really haven’t been too successful at getting him actually to join us)
01:45 Robin Carey – gets a mention
02:00 Mark Masterson signs up to join the discussion
02:30 By blogging, you develop the social relationship, which you can continue when you meet face to face.  You don’t have to begin the conversation when you meet, instead, by engaging in social software, it’s an ongoing discussion with your own neighbor.
04:45 Through social software, you develop a knowledge of the person, like a profile.
05:15 A running record of online exchanges will enable you to review your interactions with the person before you meet them face to face.  So, if you are going to a conference, and you know that certain people are going to be there, and you have been engaged with them online, by reviewing those online exchanges, you can refresh yourself on the discussion as you are about to meet them face to face.
05:30 Matt & Luis pay attention to some ideas posted on IBM’s internal microblog environment, BlueTwit.  One of their colleagues is recommending that they do a special internal podcast interview with a Senior VP.
05:45 Internal vs External discussion launches! The topic is discovered!  woohoo
06:15 What is the point of having these enterprise-internal applications when we have so many options on the internet?
07:15 Reason #1 – Internal social computing environment enables the enterprise introvert in all of us (e.g. Beehive).  Not everyone wants to be out there on the internet.  Some people feel much more comfortable working within the company, sharing their work & personal information with a trusted group or population of co-workers.
08:15 When you are collaborating and sharing with someone in the same company, there are certain things that you know about the person.  You share the same conduct guidelines, the same business goals, the same ceremonies and other cultural anchors, etc.  This leads people to trust one another more than a complete stranger on the internet.
08:45 Luis Suarez started blogging inside IBM, working in a more protected and safe zone, before he published in the big leagues at Elsua.  He regrets doing that now… regrets waiting 2 years before he started to publish externally.
09:00 Matt Simpson started by going internal in some ways and external in others.  He has always been doing online stuff externally, creating and recreating his own web site, 17 years in virtual worlds, wikis, etc.  But it took his colleagues at IBM and the creation of Blog Central to convince him of the value of the blogging & podcast pattern.
10:30 Dogear Nation forced Matt Simpson to make the transition from internal back to external, dragging him kicking and screaming.  But he didn’t like the notion of being half internal and half external.  Michael Rowe & Michael Martine get a mention.
11:15 If you are going to be on the internet, make that the focus, and don’t be internal.  One should get rid of the internal posting and references if you are going to post externally.  Trying to fuse internal and external, results in confusion.
12:00 Maybe a dedicated interview or topic for an internal podcast or blog is appropriate.
12:15 Luis Suarez tells his story about his experience posting internally AND externally at the same time.  (and he still does this by the way, cross posts)
12:45 Some people don’t feel comfortable commenting externally.  They much prefer to comment on an internal site.  So, in order to enable the most people to comment, Luis cross posts internally and externally.  There’s no reason not to cross post.
13:15 Luis writes for external audiences when he posts externally.  He shares internally so people have an opportunity to comment internally.  AND, he also writes and posts exclusively for the internal audience as well, so he can be more critical and share more internal information that he would not like to share externally.
14:00 Reason #2 – Bloggers were saying a while ago that corporate blogging is a waste of time.  They were WRONG.  Corporate blogging gives people an opportunity to have a voice within the company that they might otherwise not have.
14:15 What is the value of an internal blog for a small business of less than 100 people?  There is value.  You give people the opportunity to air certain things that otherwise wouldn’t be said.  You don’t see dozens of comments.  However, the content was significant, highlighting things that needed fixing that people were not calling out in the normal course of other meetings, memos, organizational processes.  Blogs offer one more venue, and therefore brings up more things (problems and solutions) than without the blog.
15:45 Luis tells about his internal blogging rants, where he made some significant recommendations for improvement, and others also embraced the ideas, reflecting that they also were experiencing the same things.  Blogging as a ranting tool, is really beneficial.  He advocates having a good healthy rant every now and then (inserting an mischevious laugh.)
18:15 Typical Scenario – You contact the manager in charge and make some suggestions.  The manager then asks you to put the recommendations into an email and send them.  Often, this means that they will get ignored because they are nicely contained within a private email box.  HOWEVER, when you blog about the recommendations, instead of sending the email, you can simply point the manager to the blog… that they are already documented there.  And oh, by the way, there are other people commenting there who also think the same way.  This makes the document more meaningful in the manager’s eyes.
18:45 Reason #3 – Blogging (& social computing) inside the enterprise enables expertise location.  Subject matter experts who blog about things they know end up being identified & recognized within the enterprise.
19:00 Sharing knowledge is a natural human behavior.
19:30 Social computing and online social software has eliminated the natural barriers that prevent people from posting their opinion in the enterprise.
20:30 Reason #4 – People are Less Afraid to Focus on Problems When Inside the Enterprise Than on the Internet – When people fail to disclose the things that they think, the opportunity to learn and change is missed.  If the enterprise environment normally does not allow for sharing of thoughts, then many people may be thinking the same thing, yet collectively be passive and unwilling and unable to share those thoughts.  Through the normal course of business activities, workers may fail to discuss certain things.  Blogs and other social software enable more channels to surface those thoughts so that the enterprise can act on them.
21:30 Without blogs, the emporer will continue to go naked.
22:00 Positive Speak can be the downfall of the enterprise.  We (enterprise workers) have learned to speak nicely, talk in inuendos, to avoid speaking honestly and openly to get to the root of the matter.  Blogs enable another channel.
23:30 People are often very afraid of facing problems.  However, when people allow themselves to focus on the problems, then they can get it all out of their system & get all the facts on the table so that they can focus on solutions in the best way.  It’s a natural human problem-solving process to focus on & define problems before looking for the solution.
24:45 Don’t be afraid of focussing on problems.  They are important!
25:30 Reason #5 – You Can Reach the Right Experts in the Enterprise – Social Software vs Email – Social software is out in the open.  When problem determination and resolution happens in the open, there is a greater chance that a more qualified person will come up with an even better answer.  However, if it was burried in email, the question and the first-draft solution may never see the light of day, and only be maintained within a very closed group.  That group might not be qualified to provide the right answer.
26:45 Matt Simpson tells his story about the launch of the Harvest Community, which is designed to reach out to the subject matter expertise within the company to get input on new technology (innovation) that should be accelerated into production in the enterprise.
29:00 By reaching out to a community, you are not only getting people who are interested.  You are also getting those who are passionate, those who will make time to provide the input.  This can only happen when the system is open, public, and transparent.  The discussions will be fantastic.  You can’t get better than that.
30:45 MUSIC
31:50 a special request

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