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 social communications (5)


Enterprise Social Networks - The Heart of any Social Business

Yammer are our guest hosts today on Social Workplace Twitter Chat (#SWChat) which gave me the perfect excuse to write this post.

Social Networks in our personal lives have become so embedded in our culture that signs like "Follow me on Twitter" or "Like my Facebook Page" are becoming the norm. I even saw one on the side of a local bus recently requesting to follow the bus company on Twitter.

So if we have embraced social networks in our personal lives so readily to be better connected to our friends, why is it taking so long to do the same inside a company to better connect our employees?

A company that is socially connected is not just going to be more effective and more efficient, but it's going to have a knowledge reach spanning the entire company that any employee can tap into and make use of. This is the Power of the Enterprise Social Network and the heart of any Social Business.

"It's not important for you to know all the answers, but it's key that you know someone in your employee network that does"

Many of the presentations I now give uses this tag line because it's time we put more focus and attention on building employee social relationships. By doing so we build up employee trust and an expansive knowledge network which we can then utilise.

Let's take the following scenario:

Your CEO is tired of the scatter gun like approach to internal communications and wants something done about it. As your companies Head of Communications your CEO assigns you to deal with it quickly.

However, you already have a PR nightmare on your hands which is taking up all of your time...

So what do you do...

  • bluff your CEO and drag out the project with high level strategy stuff that talks a good project but delivers nothing (oh yeah, you know what I'm talking about!) ?
  • put in a lot of over-time?
  • assign someone in your team to take on the project and re-prioritise their priorities?

None of these responses are ideal and are unlikely to deliver a good solution.

However, for a company that has embraced Enterprise Social Networks, there is another way....put a "Shout Out" to your employees asking for active participants (volunteers to be part of the project team) and passive contributors (volunteers to contribute from the sidelines).

This "Shout Out" approach provides some great business benefits:

  • avoids duplication of time, money and effort if someone is already working on something similar in your organisation (in large enterprises duplication is often a common occurrence)
  • delivers a better solution as the volunteers are interested in the subject matter
  • allows you access to a large knowledge network to minimise risks and issues
  • provides a better chance of adoption as the employees themselves have been involved in the delivery of the project

I call this Open Collaboration (yes, I avoided using the term social) and have been trialing it now for a while with some great success.

This is just one example of what you can do once your company's employees are better socially connected which couldn't be possible without first developing your Enterprise Social Network.


Next Generation Communications (#SWChat)

Thanks to everyone who took part in this weeks Social Workplace Twitter Chat event (#SWChat).

Next Generation Communications?

We are in the no-mans land of communications. The younger generation preferring social style of communication, but businesses still primarily using traditional forms like email. Is it time for businesses to start thinking about the Next Generation Communications to help bridge the gap between social and traditional, and how should it be approached?

Event Statistics

  • No. of Tweets = 1100
  • No. of Contributors = 89
  • Reach = 231,000
  • No. of impressions = 2,300,000


Full Transcript Report via @hashtracking

Questions Asked

Q1) Email is on it's way out - Agree / Disagree?
Q2) How many hours a week do you think you spend on email vs social comms for your company?
Q3) Should companies follow Atos' example of phasing out employee to employee comms?
Q4) Are social comms (e.g. IM, Twitter, FB etc...) really more efficient than email?
Q5) What advice would you give to a company making that transition from traditional to social comms?
Q6) What are the barriers for a company to move to the Next Generation form of comms?
Q7) In 140 characters or less, define a sales pitch to your CEO why they should consider phasing out email e/ee to e/ee comms

Shared Reference Material


Useful #SWChat Links

Next Event | Schedule | Reminders | Archive | Advisors | Q&A | About


#SWCONF is nearly here...

I'm sooooooo excited....


The Social Workplace Conference (#SWCONF) in London is just over a week away!

This is a great looking conference with some fantastic speakers which I have admired for many years. I am truly honored to be the opening keynote at this conference, which has made me work even harder to ensure i bring great content. And I promise NO death by powerpoint!

But what do I choose to talk about? :

  • The Oracle journey of Social discovery?
  • Why being social in the enterprise is no longer just a nice to have but a critical component of how we need do business?
  • How to gain senior management buy-in to create The Social Enterprise?
  • Is Social Media really ther right term we should be using?
  • How to develop Social Readiness and mature your Social Business Infrastructure?
  • How traditional and social communications can and need to co-exist?
  • The death of email is coming...

All the above I will cover but there is one topic that I am so passionate about which I have been working on for the last 3 years that I have to talk about - OPEN COLLABORATION.

OPEN COLLABORATION for me is at the heart of The Social Enterprise and it is what's going to change behaviours in the workplace.

If you don't know about this conference then check out the details over at #SWCONF and if that doesn't whet your appetite then check out my interview with Vic Okezie - Social Media behind the Firewall

If you haven't got your tickets yet for the conference and are thinking of going, then hurry there is currently a 20% discount if you quote the code TWITTER20.

Hope to see you there...


How NOT to get Twitter followers

My Twitter stream is an essential part of my business and my life (yes I have the S.A.D disease where there is no cure). I have put an extraordinary amount of time into identifying the right knowledge flows that are both inspirational and informative to me and my business.

Whilst building up my Twitter stream there were certain idiosyncrasies that instantly put me off following someone. I thought I would share these with you in the form of How NOT to get Twitter followers, as I am sure I am not alone here in my thoughts.

Disclaimer: These are based on using your Twitter account for business purposes not for personal use (though many of the idiosyncrasies would still come into effect for personal use too!)

How NOT to get Twitter Followers

1. Don't use your own Human Face as your Twitter Avatar

These are just some of the classic examples I came across:

  • Using your pet - People do business with people not with their pets. Am I really going to take you seriously if I am tweeting with Mr. Snuffles?
  • Adding funny clown hats and fake moustaches - Why on earth????
  • Using your company logo - unless you are a well established enterprise, then I would not recommend this. I am more likely to build a relationship with you when I see a human face than a nice company logo
  • Using the default Twitter Avatar - To me this shows you don't understand how social media or business works. Therefore I am unlikely to contact you....ever
  • Using a cartoon image - Hahahaha but I am not going to contact you...
  • Using a picture of your loved one or baby - Awww isn't that sweet....still not going to contact you.....
  • Using a provocative picture - Yes I may contact you but not for the reasons you would like me to....

2. Starting your Twitter Bio with Personal Stuff

Yes, you maybe a proud dad of two and a wonderful husband, but don't include that in your bio. Your Twitter bio has a limited number of characters - use it wisely to give a good impression of you and your business.

If you MUST add that info, add it at the end never at the beginning. I'm busy, I might only read the first 5 words of your bio before making a decision to follow you or not.

3. Having an Animated Twitter Avatar

If the thought is that you will stand out from the crowd, you succeeded. But not for the reasons you would like me to think. You want your tweets to stand out from the crowd not your Avatar!

(I saw one recently with a rotating head - WHY????)

4. Using Strange Twitter Names

Having Twitter names like "ILuvSocialMedia" or "Ifollowbaccc" is an immediate put off for me. I want a face and a name to do business with. Which leads me nicely on to my next idiosyncrasy...

5. Including Follow Back in your Twitter Bio

Adding "I'll follow you back" in your bio is a big no no. I don't want anyone to follow me back just because I follow them. I follow people because I hope they will be inspirational and informative in their tweets to me and I continue to follow when they do. I hope my followers think the same of me.

(btw If you are that desperate for friends, go down to your local pub and buy everyone a drink!)

6. Adding words like "Expert" and "Guru" to your Twitter Bio

Only other people can call you an expert or guru. If you include it in your bio it suggests you need convincing of the fact not others (bit of Sigmund Freud deep thinking here...)

7. Not Tweeting Regularly

If you don't tweet regularly you either have nothing to say or you don't understand social media. Either way why would I want you in my Twitter stream?

8. Tweeting about Personal Stuff

Some personal stuff is ok, it shows a human side to you and your business. But if you do it regularly I will unfollow you. My advice is to use Facebook for your personal stuff, or at the very least have a separate Twitter account for personal stuff so if people are interested they will follow your personal account.

9. Not Listening or Engaging with Others

If you are just constantly pushing out your own content and not listening to, or engaging with me then why would I continue to follow you? (see my previous post Twitter: Learn to listen and stand out from the crowd...)

10. Ignoring your Klout Score

Ok, this might be a contentious inclusion here whilst it is still in beta mode, but I believe Klout will play an influential role on Twitter when it comes to business (see Where there is an over-crowded market in what you and your business have to offer, what is going to make you stand out from the crowd?

Klout will show how other people perceive you and how influential you are when it comes to your area of expertise. This could be the deciding factor when all other things are equal.

Some Final Pearls of Wisdom

Remember, your Twitter account is just an extension of you and your business - a great social communication channel in a very public arena. Take Twitter seriously and treat the people that follow you with respect. Who knows where that next lead or opportunity will come from...


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