The Peacock’s feathers

So many different shades, colors, hues, and sizes-creating a magnificently simple rainbow or a Jackson Pollock? Even though I read the Economist’s issue A world of connections in black and white, I could still see the bright colors of the new world of connectivism struggling to jump off the page.

But where is it all going for me? As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a social collaborator on-line. I use Facebook occasionally, have dabbled with Twitter and constantly make fun of my wife for playing Farmville. However, when it comes to problem solving I find the potential for collaborative tools endless. Two heads are better than one? Try 350 million (Facebook’s current estimate of users)

Many of the issues’ articles dealt with how these social media companies are expanding , using some pretty effective marketing tools like the Network Effect. Even after reading the issue, I am still curious about how a company like Twitter makes a profit. Facebook, Ning, MySpace, etc.. create virtual venues, rooms and areas for like minded people to gather, share, collaborate and ultimately click on conveniently placed ads. I don’t see this same model with Twitter but to be honest, I don’t really care that much.

My aim is how these tools can be used to help me. I think this is why I’m drawn more to what is called Enterprise 2.0 or how social media can be used in the workplace. Here’s an example of a challenge I faced today:

I’m working for the University of California which consists of 10 ten campuses across the state. We are trying to create , that’s right , create! on-line resources for employees to use at the office. My task was to create a job -aid to assist in time management. Now, I haven’t been here long, but I can’t imagine I’m the first person to tackle time management at UC. And yet, I have no way to know what that previous person read, thought, or created because their work is probably in a drawer somewhere at their desk or saved to a personal folder.

Why can’t I find who that person is? Find out what resources they designed? How was it received? Continue using and modifying their work. The answer is simply because collaborative/social sharing tools do not exist across campuses for my department. Imagine if I went to a UC Twitter and and all HR members were followers, and I posted…. “anyone have resources for job aids?” — Or if I could search a database to look for previously created HR lesson plans and job aids. Imagine how much TIME I would have saved creating this time management piece. How ironic.

That’s where social media meets my needs and I’m interested to review some of the Enterprise 2.0 sites the article mentioned such as Yammer and Chatter.

2 thoughts on “The Peacock’s feathers

  • Nice post, Steve!

    I agree with your comments about Facebook…I'm not much of a follower either, and just go on periodically to browse through content. And although I only just signed up for a Twitter account today, I find more possibilities with sharing news and information on it.

    Yes, FB and Twitter differ in services offered- with FB-users exchanging content within their selected community.
    Twitter, on the other hand, has already proved itself to be the "information company," as Biz Stone, one of the company's founders, describes it.

    -Shri

  • You bring up a very important aspect of what happens when there is no record of what's been done by your predecessor. Do you start over? Do you take time to try & find hard or soft copies of your predecessor's work? This would be an ideal opportunity for using GoogleDocs or a Ning site to update and share files & what's been done. Ideally there is supposed to be a handbook or documentation recording what's bee done, best practices, etc. but in most companies the push is to do more in less time so this information gets dropped. Perhaps using new technologies will make it so easy to share this information it won't be dropped. Of course overcominghuman fears of being replaced because the information is shared needs to be addressed. Also the company/university should be advocating a system to share an keep a record of what's been done – which is in their best interest.