Social networks are passé. Messaging is the new thing. Take two.

by Volker Weber

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When your house is on fire, you won't write an email to the Fire Department. You also wouldn't tweet for help. Not the right tool.

People are smart. They always find a way to get their work done. And they will find tools that do that well. When I wrote about Social vs Messaging the other day, I was referring to that. Apparently we have to teach people to "be social", to share on a team space, on an intranet portal, in a community. I am not saying that this teaching is futile. What I am saying is that people found a way to reduce their mail workload. And it's not the tool we are selling them.

Messaging is that tool. You create a group, a channel, or whatever you call it and everybody is on the same page. This is small scale sharing. It works for small groups but not for big ones. But if you analyze your inbox, chances are that you exchange almost all of your short mails with a group of ten people. You can have everybody in your team on one channels, all parents of your kid's kindergarten on another one, your family on a third, and so forth. When you plan an event, you just create another channel.

Messaging vendors have taken this simple concept and extended it to other tools. Where the real work gets done. Integrate into Salesforce, for a sales team. Integrate into a bug tracker, for a development team. Integrate into file sharing, for everybody.

File sharing has always worked best on network drives, in shared directories. Services like Dropbox have taken the concept to mobile and disconnected devices. They are way more popular than Sharepoint or file libraries. Everybody uses them, even those who want to ban them from the workplace.

This is what is happening. People discover tools that solve immediate problems. They don't do architecture. They get their work done. In the least painful way possible.

Does that mean they don't need a community site? Not necessarily. But it may not be the most pressing problem they have.

Please remember: you are not running a kindergarten. Your people are smart. Stand in their way and they will find a way around you. New strategy: find out what your people like. And then give it to them.

Comments

Interesting: Slack and Ryver. Never heard of both of them before Your post but that seems interesting. for my way of work ryver seems to be product to go as I never have a static or even in-house team.
vowe is a good mother in a way that it teaches You to think new things and learn :-)

Chris Frei, 2016-04-15

Slack is fine. I use that all day with my team. And thanks for pointing out Ryver. Looks interesting.

Richard Kaufmann, 2016-04-15

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

vowe

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