Thanks to all the people who came to our session at Enterprise 2.0 Conference on business uses of Twitter, How Twitter Changes Everything. My panel co-participants include Jessica Lipnack, CEO, NetAge (our moderator) Isaac Garcia, CEO, Central Desktop, Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, and my fellow AppGap blogger, Patti Anklam. Last Wednesday I posted the thoughts I shared at the session and some additional comments (Thoughts on Twitter and Business for Enterprise 2.0 Conference). Here I want to expand on them and look at what some others have said.
I should first add that our session was about Twitter as business tool and not about micro-blogging within the enterprise where issues like security are critical. There was an excellent session on the latter topic the next day (see Thoughts from Enterprise 2.0 Conference Session on Future of Social Messaging in Enterprise.) Pistachio Consulting provides an excellent Enterprise Microsharing Tools Comparison.
We have started to use the term Twitter like we did Xerox or Kleenex so there can be confusion here. Twitter, like Facebook is a consumer Web tool that has great business uses. It is not designed as an enterprise 2.0 tool for use behind the firewall. This does not mean that it does not have business uses. It just means that these uses are out in the public space. (see Enterprise 2.0 is not Web 2.0 nor is it an Oxymoron).
This is the third Enterprise 2.0 conference session I have done with Jessica. I always like her introductions and her style of getting everyone involved. I think her energy is contagious and I look forward to more.
Several of the other panel members, as well as those in the audience have continued the conversation. I want to summarize what they said and provide links to their complete thoughts in this post.
Enterprise 2.0: Twitter Up, Facebook, MySpace Down appeared in Information Week. It noted how quickly usage switches on the web with twitter on the upswing down but people are still sorting it out.
How Twitter changed to include everyone – Our panel leader Jessica Lipnack posted a number of pictures from the session and provided us with the stream on tweets on the panel through the Twitter tag #e2conf. More have surfaced since her post.
Twitter in the Enterprise - Patti Anklam another panel member shared her thoughts from the panel and more. She related what happened when the CEO at one of her clients requested a “twitter channel” for questions during an all-employee forum. Patti added benefits to using within the enterprise: situational awareness, crowd sourcing: tweeting questions and getting answers from friends but also friends of friends (via the Retweet mechanism), developing and maintaining relationships. Tweets also help you get a sense of who a person is, and whether it’s a person you may want to collaborate with. In addition, tweets with links, and especially retweets with links provide a good information filtering mechanism.
Patti also provided a useful list of challenges to implementing a twitter-like micro-blogging tool within the enterprise. In addition to dealing with the very real security concerns, these include migrating people who are already using Twitter to an internal tool. It is also important for enterprise micro-blogging tools to enable the option to post out to Twitter anything posted internally. Then there is the issue of Integrating micro-blogging with social networking and collaboration applications that already exist or that are in plan. There is much more in Patti’s post and you should look at the complete piece.
Enterprise 2.0 2009:Twitter’s Influence Everywhere & A New Realism was posted by my fellow AppGap blogger. Jenny noted that Twitter’s influence pervaded the Expo floor with micro-blogging/social messaging functionality being demoed at booths from Lotus Connections through the latest release of Atlassian’s Confluence Wiki to Thoughtfarmer. I would add Central Desktop, Cubetree, and Traction TeamPage to this list. I think that soon every enterprise 2.0 collaboration platform will have one.
Irwin Lazar expanded on Jenny’s point about the migration of Twitter like capabilities to the enterprise and wrote that there are “over a dozen press releases now on the E 2.0 site, almost all with a common theme of taking the capabilities of Facebook and Twitter and bringing them into the enterprise in a manner that meets requirements for security, compliance, and governance, but that also enables support for both internal and external collaboration.”
I am saving the most controversial part to the last. Issace Garcia stated that there is a lot of spam in Twitter and that RTs are spam. While I would agree with Issac that there is too much spam in Twitter, I respectfully disagree with the RT point. Many others including Luis Suarez and Alex Howard joined the disagreement. Alex did a nice follow-up post, Does RT = spam? Unlikely. A retweet is social media currency. I should say first that I have great respect for Isaac and have covered his work at Central Desktop many times (for example, Central Desktop Using Twitter for Sales, Service, and Brand Monitoring Conversations and How Barack Obama is Using Web and Enterprise 2.0 in the US Primary Campaign Through Central Desktop).
Alex first offered a definition of spam from the Wikipedia (currently) “Spam the abuse of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages.” He added that CNET reported that, in 2009, spam makes up 90% of all email. Alex said, if anything, that’s actually down from the 95% estimate he read a few years ago. I have heard similar numbers.
Alex then noted correctly that it is easy to avoid spam by not following those who you consider spam. Of course one person’s spam is not person’s steak but you can decide. Alex asked his followers on the more specific point about RTs and got some good responses that he posted.
@pmhesse wrote what many others said “RT is about sharing information with your friends that you found valuable, informative, or entertaining.” @eric_andersen added “I couldn’t possibly follow all of the original sources of info/links I’m interested in; rely on others to RT. IMHO sharing info via retweets is part of the “lifeblood” of Twitter; without sharing much appeal of the medium is lost.” I agree with both.
Alex further defined variations of RT. “A retweet is social media currency. It’s a validation of the tweet you are passing on and a stamp that you have not changed it. I use PRT, for partial retweet, if I have to edit for length. I use via or HT for “hat tip” if I pass along someone’s link but write my own text, which provides proper attribution.” I agree with the social currency concept. I also learned something here and will think about using these variations. He also mentioned the major spam problems on Twitter and noted an @spam account to report it to but RT is not spam if used right.
Isaac defended his position in a reply on Alex’s post. He only wants to see the original thoughts of people he follows and not the ideas of others they consider useful to pass on. We can just respectfully disagree here but with Twitter you can un-follow those who you feel are misusing the RT feature. Bringing micro-blogging into the enterprise may raise similar issues but I still think that RT could be useful there if done right.
Tomorrow I am going to post on some of the overall summaries of the Enterprise 2.0 conference.