Do I know you?

What’s ailin’ ya?

Posted by Gia Lyons on April 17, 2008

The doctor is in. Tell me: what pains do you encounter – and please, don’t hold anything back, I’m here to listen – in trying to get your organization to use social software? I don’t care what tool you’re deploying. Just tell me where it hurts.


9 Responses to “What’s ailin’ ya?”

  1. Jay said

    It hurts all over, what’s the cure?

  2. Gia Lyons said

    My experience with IBM sellers is this: If it’s not easily usable from their existing inbox and instant message clients, forget it.

  3. Gia Lyons said

    Well. Lots of discussion on Twitter about what “social software” should mean. I intentionally left this phrase in its pristine buzzword state here, because I’d like to hear how you define it. It is broad, that’s for sure.

  4. As per our Twitter conversation…

    I am the Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 evangelist of the little world of IT Architects that I work with in Cisco. Bottom line, I was conducting an E2.0 Strategy discussion and less than 25% of architects present said they had delved with social software.

    Maybe I am being cynical, but it sure seems like any discussion of E2.0 tools in the context of helping teams folks Connect, Communicate, Collaborate and Share Knowledge (read, Learn) is met with “Ok, and what’s in it for me” or “Sounds like charity work to me”

    Of course, it’s not a typical of every IT group here. But it’s a feeling that permeates in many groups.

    Hence, my current focus on coming up with “E2.0 Usage Patterns” deck to see if I can boil it down for them

  5. […] About Gia Lyons « What’s ailin’ ya? […]

  6. JoAnn Brereton said

    Hi Gia,

    Well you asked for it! So here goes…

    Some pain points for software in general: It should “just work”, it should involve a minimum of effort and it should never, ever make me feel stupid. In fact, if it’s really good, it should make me feel very smart.

    With social software, the perceived “cost of entry” has to be very, very low because the very currency of social software is people. You need to gather a lot of people quickly. To do that they need to see the value quickly. By quickly, I mean in less than 60 seconds, maybe in less than 15.

    Really good software makes a user look really smart. Google is king in that regard. Google has made a lot of very average people look smart. Google has an extremely simple interface: one text box, one button. OK, two buttons if you count “I Feel Lucky” but work with me here.

    There’s no way to get lost on the way to Google, no way to feel stupid using it. In fact, because its results are remarkably accurate, people actually feel smarter than they really are. It’s a real boost to the ego. In the 21st century, you can learn quite a about rocket science just by googling “rocket science”.

    Social software can be the same way if it helps you make a contact you would have otherwise not have made, helps you create a community that is better than the sum of its people. But it should allow you to make that connection to value very quickly.

    To do this right, social software makers need to put real value right there on the front page for people to see and use immediately. Facebook and MySpace both let you jump right in and start “connecting”, even before you log in. You can be barely literate in the English Language, yet in three MySpace clicks, can pump the Dead Kennedys’ “Halloween” through your speakers. What a value.

    One sure way to lose users in this attention deficient world is to make them read through complex directions and click 3 or 4 times before they get to any “good stuff” (>cough<, Bluehouse). A good rule of thumb is “Can I be up and running and find something of interest in the first minute?” If not, then I am going to mark the experience as painful and move on.

    Hope that provides the kind of feedback you’re looking for.
    You know where to find me if you want to hear more.


  7. Hi Gia,

    What a coincidence! Two days ago I posted this:

    on the limitations of bottom-up E2.0. Maybe some new perspective?


  8. Jay said

    Six years ago we deployed forums. While sometimes not considered web 2.0 forums/discussions are the backbone of our community. It’s where the bulk of user interactions take place.

    A couple years later we built our first blog system on top of our forum application. Shortly after that we moved to a dedicated blog application. Around the same time as blogs we launched wikis as a beta and went into full production a year later. A separate profile application was layered on around this time.

    Two years ago we added group chat and a code exchange and a year ago a spaces application that aggregates content from our community applications and elsewhere.

    What have we learned? We need an integrated platform. While our community is thriving our organic growth through separate point applications has created silos that don’t interact well with each other. This works OK for a support environment but it doesn’t for social networking – our forum posters have no clue what’s going on in the blogs, the bloggers have no idea whom our forum rock stars are, etc. etc. It is possible of course to use remote APIs and combine data from the different apps but it’s never the same as having it all in one platform. Plus that method is brittle, hard to maintain and frustrating in that you never get it right.

    So from a developers viewpoint it’s frustrating because we have to maintain a bunch of separate apps of varying quality and ability; from a user’s standpoint the community works pretty well for support issues but we’ve got a ways to go to become a true social networking site.


  9. Gia Lyons said

    JoAnn, I heart you. Bingo. Usability, of UI and content, rules the day.

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