Monday, June 2, 2008

Should we add workflow to social software ?

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Today, was one of those days where I got the same question from multiple people. And you know that when that happens, it's time to blog about it! I first got the question from a customer during a 2 hour workshop on Lotus Connections and its business value and integration power. The question was: "Is there a workflow associated with a user creating a forum thread or a blog entry?"

I asked what kind of workflow they were thinking about and the answer was a simple 2 step process asking for management approval.

Later in the day, I got the same question from David Clarke. My answer to both is: "No, and I don't think workflow is such a good idea in social software. In fact, I would argue that workflow would be a huge turn off and would be a barrier for user adoption".

The customer didn't seem too convinced. To which, of course, I said: " Lotus Connections does have tools, however, that let you, as an admin, manage inappropriate content. And, it's not that complicated to customize the application if you need it".

But, the question remains: "should we add workflow to Lotus Connections (and other social software)?"

Would you:

  • blog as often as you do if you knew your blog entry was subject to management approval each time?
  • create a forum thread as often as you do and wait for management approval?
  • upload videos to YouTube and wait for the powers-that-be to approve it?
  • upload photos to Flickr and wait for someone to approve it before you can share with family/friends?

What are your thoughts ?

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