My Crazy Prediction?

In September 2008 I made a prediction, that email as we know it today will no longer exist in 10 years time.

Read The Death Of Email by 2018

Will I be proved to be a:
or Fool?

Time Remaining:


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Disclaimer: The views expressed on stopthinksocial are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Strategic advice and experience on making the most of  being social in the workplace

Entries in post method (3)


What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy?

I was recently contacted by the managing director of a large enterprise asking for advice on what was the most effective way to communicate to his employees.

This was pleasing on two fronts:

  1. He was starting to question that maybe traditional communication channels, (e.g. email, newsletters etc...), are no longer the most effective way to reach his employees
  2. This strategic thinking was coming from the top

His assessment of the situation within his organisation was also spot on:

  • email and SMS are the most widely used today
  • newsletters are no longer read in any great detail
  • internal social applications (e.g. Twitter style interface, RSS, social networking etc...) are only used by a small minority of the employees

So applying Forresters' P.O.S.T methodology (People, Objectives, Strategy, Tools) to his situation I began to build up a picture to of what his long term goals were and it was clear that ultimately he needed to be on a social platform.

As the style of communication he wanted to send to his employees was short key announcements highlighting key deals they had just won, changes to his organisation etc... the internal Twitter application seemed the best fit and gave many advantages over email:

  • Ability to reach a much wider audience (i.e. people in your network will retweet to others in their network, and so on)
  • Ability for users to discuss and comment openly on those announcements
  • Ability to send, and for users to receive, the messages through the Corporations' Instant Messenger tool – providing ease of use as majority of people already use Instant Messaging
  • Messages are stored centrally and accessible by all employees
  • Ability to embed communications onto a portal page / website providing real-time updates with zero admin

But the challenge was how to move the employees from email to this Twitter style application. What was needed was a Social Communications Transitional Strategy.

So this is what I recommended:

  1. Set a date for the transitional period (say 3 - 6 months) and use both email and the internal Twitter style application to send your messages - this is duplication, but a necessary step in the transitional strategy
  2. In each email that is sent, highlight that there is an alternative communication channel (i.e. the Twitter style application) that people can choose to receive these announcements other than via email. Also provide links to any training material or step-by-step guides to help them with any setups that are required
  3. Six weeks prior to the end of your transitional period, clearly highlight in each subsequent email that these announcements via email are about to come to an end. Emphasise that if they want to continue to receive these announcements then they must transition over to the Twitter style application immediately
  4. At the end of the transitional period, stop sending any announcements via email and use only the Twitter style application

At the end of this transitional period, you will end up with only those employees subscribing to these announcements who find them of value. Those that don't won't subscribe. You have avoided spamming people unnecessarily long term.

So if you are finding it difficult to reach your audience through traditional communication channels, don't be put off by social communications channels just because they are not widely used yet in your organisation. Just use the P.O.S.T method and plan your Social Communications Transitional Strategy.

1.       Use both email AND OraTweet initially for a set period of time (say 3 - 6 months)

2.       In each weekly email communication, highlight that there is also a social platform (OraTweet) that users can use to receive these communications, and instructions of how to do this and how to integrate it with PidGin (my team can help you in this)

3.       In the last 6 weeks, start encouraging people to transition over to OraTweet and highlight that these email communications will stop after this time


Social Media: It's just a bunch of tools right?

Firstly, I would just like to announce that we have a new addition to the family Dylan James Christopher which is also the reason for the long break between my posts on my blog (he's only a few weeks old and I am blaming him already).

However, I am refreshed and back!

Ok, so over the weekend I realised that I have been having the same conversations over and over again with colleagues that Social Media is so much more than the technology. So I decided that I need to take a different approach to communicating this message.

So I have put together the following slideshare presentation to get the message across in a fun but clear way. Please let me know if I succeeded.....


The right way to approach change

I had an interesting discussion today with one of my social media change agents who is struggling to convince their team that a social business community is a much better solution for 100 people to communicate and collaborate than an email distribution list.

The response from the team is not an unusual response. So why were they struggling?

Two reasons:

1. Empowerment
To be an effective social media change agent you MUST to be empowered by the Sponsor to make the necessary changes to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the team. In this case they were not, and they need to go back to the Sponsor to gain that empowerment and to have that communicated to the rest of the team.

2. Approach
The approach was wrong. The focus was on the removal of the email distribution list and to replace it with a social business community. It was a tool focused approach.

One of the earliest blog entries I read that really opened my eyes on how to approach a social media strategy was The POST Method from groundswell.

People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology.

Repeatedly I have seen people start a blog, or create a social business community because it is "the cool thing to do". A couple of months later they seem surprised when nobody is commenting on the blog or sharing / collaborating in the social business community.

What the social media change agent should have done is:

1) gain an understanding of the social capabilities of the group
2) be clear on what it is they wanted to achieve (i.e. what are their information flows - content, audience, sensitivity, frequency etc...) and identified any issues / challenges they wanted to overcome
3) plan how the group is to adopt any change in their information flows, including a clear communication strategy on how to transition from the old way of working to the new, and over what time period
4) identify the right technology based on the business needs

The end result is still the same - they need to implement a social business community, however the approach and reasoning is something even a hardened sceptic can follow and appreciate.

The tools are the enabler of the strategy, they do not define it!