I love getting messages from readers, even ones that aren’t entirely complimentary. And a recent Executive Briefings newsletter I wrote brought out a few good responses from some members of our audience.!@!
In the piece “Who Owns the Social Network?” I talked with Small World Labs CEO Michael Wilson about how social networking was rather new, both as a technology and a learning technique. No surprise there, but the article went on to point out that it’s novelty has caused some uncertainty as to what function in the enterprise should have responsibility for it.
Mark Sylvester, CEO of introNetworks, agreed and offered the following insight:
“It is a real challenge for our customers as well. I have found that if IT gets involved it will add 6-9 months to the process, which frustrates the learning team that is wanting to implement a solution. We have built systems that allow customers to deploy pilots so that they can get off the ground without HR or IT actually. Then, once successful, can bring the other departments into the process. Each situation is unique and we found that offering alternatives greatly eased the implementation phase.”
Reader Kristen Fife said she found the article “interesting,” but chided me for the fact that I didn’t “identify ‘the social network’ as being an internal network as vs. external content until almost halfway through.” Also, contra Mr. Sylvester, she said, “I think IT should own the network and work with various departments to make sure that the tool has the functionality to meet the needs of various departments as needed.”
Finally, I got a message from Gail Taylor, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She wrote that I didn’t distinguish enough between social networking (the act of socializing virtually on a network, which often takes place between individuals with common interests) and social networks (the actual platform on which this usually occurs).
Taylor also explained that, “Power relationships that are present among members internal to and others external to an organization are what determine exchanges and rates of social capital that exist at the individual, group, organization, and transorganization levels of operation. Social capital has two orientations in these settings — economic and social relations. The economic orientation is dominant, and also what was being promoted in the article via comments that were made about IT and HR staff members interspersed throughout the article.”
What do you think? Let me know by sending me an e-mail or responding in the Comments section below or on our Discussion Board.