Monday, October 20, 2008

Social Software Adoption Is Like Having A Baby

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Are you excited about social software ? You should be... Are you scared of how to deploy it internally in your organization ? I understand. I talk to customers on a daily basis and this is their #1 concern! While viral adoption will happen with a useful social software solution it still takes time. And then comes the question... what does adoption mean ? Is it that 50% of users are actively blogging? Or perhaps that 33% of users actively tag pages ? Or maybe that at least 75% of users keep their profile up-to-date? As an example, Technorati says there are over 6 million blogs. That's about a 10% adoption rate for blogs worldwide.

This all depends on you! You (and your organization) define what adoption means. Enterprise social software is "new", and you are not only worrying about your adoption of this "baby", but also about the adoption of this "baby" throughout your organization.

As a recent dad, I can identify. I was very nervous about becoming a dad and I wanted to make sure that I be the best dad ever. I decided to educate myself and learn from others. To do this, in part, I read more baby books than my wife! But I digress...

How can you educate yourself? How can you learn from others? How can you leverage what has worked and what hasn't ? Easy! Take a peek at this article . It describes some of the recommended practices by IBM when deploying social software inside of the enterprise.

Here are some of the highlights:

In setting expectations for the pilot, it is important to realise that not everyone needs to be an active contributor. Analysts have identified a pattern of 90:9:1 where 90% of users are lurkers/readers, 9% are active participants, and 1% are early adopters and evangelists.
Brainstorm with your advocates and early adopters in the pilot about the most appropriate use of the tools for your organization. What user scenarios make sense in your organizational culture? What kind of content and personality do you want to encourage?
...if you are piloting on a large scale, a more accurate approach called a social network analysis (SNA) will uncover advocates that you never knew existed. SNA is a set of methods that reveal connections among people important for information-sharing, decision-making, and innovation.
...don't rely solely on your advocates for publicity. Use a combination of viral (word-of- mouth) marketing with more traditional mass-marketing approaches. Advertise your new social networking environment using traditional methods such as e-mail announcements and a feature story on your intranet homepage.

Hope you like it!

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