Emergent social software platforms — the enabling technologies of the 2.0 Era — are being deployed by enterprises at a rapid rate. Companies as varied as Microsoft, Spigit, Salesforce, Jive, Socialtext, and IBM now all offer enterprise social offerings for customers.
This brings up an important question: what are Enterprise 2.0 best practices for individuals? Should an employee use her company's social networking software just like she uses her Facebook account? Should she microblog the same way she uses Twitter?
I say no. Enterprise 2.0 is not Web 2.0; corporate technologies are different than personal ones, even if they look and feel the same. They're there to support the work of the organization, not to let individuals do and say whatever they want.
As I've argued for some time, though, there's no deep incompatibility between these two use cases. The autonomous and personalized actions and interactions of people, facilitated by technology, can be a great benefit to the enterprise, because this work creates new knowledge and fosters novel connections.
So here are some recommendations about how to use these tools to simultaneously advance your own work, make your...
Manonamission.blogspot.com is a great collection of corporate mission statements. I recently used its search function to find examples of companies that prominently and publicly state something close to "people are our most important asset." Here's a partial list: Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Land O' Lakes, Danaher, Archer Daniels Midland, Valero, Performance Food Group, Norfolk Southern, and Border's Group. And here's a group of companies that similarly value "empowerment:" Caremark, Sara Lee, Heinz, Dow Chemical, GE, and Alcoa.
I don't mean to pick on these companies; they're just particularly clear examples of how all organizations talk about their people. I've never come across a modern enterprise that publicly states anything like "We want our people to put their heads down and do only the jobs that have been assigned to them. We want their thinking to stay 'inside the box.' When we want their opinions, we'll ask for them. Our machines and business processes are our most important assets; our people just keep them running." Instead, virtually all organizations stress the empowerment of their people.
We're at a very interesting juncture just now: we're about to find out how many of these companies really mean it....