Would you join a Facebok with 100 users? A Yammer with few entries? A Twitter where only a few tweets?
The power of social platforms lies in their volume. Translated into corporate life, if you are going to use an internal digital platform for collaboration, for example, this needs to be heavily managed and curated. From day one, when inviting people to join, it has to be properly populated, rich, attractive. Don’t believe in simple organic growth for its use. Yes, that may happen, but you have a short window to make it credible.
Many well intentioned systems of employee collaboration fail because they don’t look credible. In part, because at the beginning they look like a desert or an airport terminal at 4 am.
No intranet is better than a slow or poorly populated or unattractive intranet. Enterprise social platforms that have the intention to facilitate a sense of belonging and provide a home for particular conversations, can’t work half steam. Anything else below decent steam will discourage people to join or stay. In doubt, stick to the phone or email.
Social technologies, as they are often called, are only social if the behavioural mechanism to use them is in place. A collaborative software does not solve collaboration in deeply individualistic cultures. Collaboration behaviours need to be there before, at least embryonic.
Collaboration is not something to be expected, it needs to be orchestrated. If a social technology (internal digital platform) is to be used, it has to have people in decent numbers using it for others to follow. Potential users will imitate their peers, not their bosses.
In Viral Change™, we bank on the highly influential people in the organization. From the very beginning, social technology within the enterprise is a numbers game. If you don’t have a ‘numbers strategy’, don’t start. Don’t do half social.
If you want to kill a project, insist in using a social platform for members and then let it rest. It will rest in peace. And the project’s credibility (not the platform credibility) will go down hill fast.