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What next for Social Business? Patchwork Elephant Event Report

As part of London's Social Media Week we put on an event called Social Business – The Patchwork Elephant Revisited asking "What next for Social Business?".  We were kindly sponsored by our friends here at CompareTheCloud.net and we introduced the event and the speakers in an earlier post.  The idea was to get 8 different perspectives on where we are at, and where we go next, with using social and collaboration tools "inside" the business to add value and work more effectively.  Why is the "Social" word seen with such suspicion by some executives in the C-suite?  With the explosion of social media use in marketing or customer support reaching out of the organisation, why aren't more companies using it all over their organisations?  We believe change is happening, but why aren't we further forward with "Social Business"?

A few weeks after our event, Chris Heuer did a guest post on Brian Solis' blog that moved in to the same territory we covered asking Social Business is Dead! Long Live What’s Next! and highlighted the problem with:
"While the ideas behind the moniker are invaluable in defining the future of work, most large companies simply . ...
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Where next for Social Business? @ Social Media Week London

This week is Social Media Week in London (but also Berlin, Bogota, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Toronto).  There is a packed schedule of events each day, heavily oriented towards social media marketing and using social to promote your brand and connect with your customers, fans and community in general.  We (Alan Patrick, Janet Parkinson and I) are running one of the few events of this week that talks Social Business - about using social tools inside as well as outside the organisation to make business more effective - Social Business - The Patchwork Elephant Revisited.  We'll also be discussing the way today's technology landscape is disrupting traditional business models, changing society, and changing the world of work.
The event is being held tomorrow September 27th at Hub Westminster, in New Zealand House in Haymarket (at the Pall Mall end).  It runs from 13:00 (with a formal start of presentations at 13:30 and a 45 minute break, so ample time for networking) and ends at 17:30.  I'm delighted to say we are sponsored by our friends at CompareTheCloud.net.
Three years ago we ran a similar event within the February 2010 edition of ...
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Social Business

After some soul searching I've just started updating my various personal profiles around the web to say I'm a social business evangelist rather than saying enterprise 2.0I've got close to this before.  I wanted to explain why now.  For me that terminology change is a big deal because I'm not 100% comfortable with "social business", but it's not me rather the market that decides.  If we move the clock forwards 5 years I'm sure we'll be using different language again, and I believe the way the smart companies use social media and social tools in their businesses today will be as natural and essential to any organisation as a website, email, phones or mobiles (cell phones for my US friends, handys for the Germans - language is so crucial!).  I actually prefer the term "amplified enterprise" because the terms "social business" (as used by the likes of Dachis, Altimeter Group and IBM) or "social enterprise" (as used by Salesforce) are already occupied by a very different idea.  Go ask the average, non-technology oriented bushiness person in the street and see what they say.  Actually my perspective on this topic has 4 dimensions:
  • The social ...
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Social Business - use cases and best practice are pants!

At the IBM Collaboration Diner at the Social Business Expo we had a long conversation with my old friend Luis Saurez about use cases and best practice - he doesn't believe in them!  Luis was there to do Wednesday's keynote address on the topic he is famous for - Thinking Outside the Inbox - There is no We in email.  I was there as one of the invited thought leaders contributing to the cafe style debates IBM and Collaobration Matters had organised inside a 1940s American Diner styled after Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks.  One of my customers, Janet Parkinson of The Smart Work Company, was there joining in the discussion with Luis, triggered by our belief that there aren't enough good case studies of businesses using social tools inside their organisations to show how Social Business can work.  I commented that part of the reason for that is the difficulty of getting enterprises to share something that can be a competitive advantage, but Luis immediately declared that use cases are useless!

His view is that every business is different, every business is unique.  Having a use case for some other firm doesn't really help much.  He wants to go in . ...
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Social Business at IBM's Hopper Collaboration Diner

This week I was invited by IBM (and Ogilvy PR) to join in the collaboration debates at the Social Business Expo, a new strand of the Unified Communications Expo at Olympia .  This is not an event I would normally attend, covering everything from phone handsets through VoIP to tele conferencing, but I'm sure the social business component of ths show will get even bigger next year.  The attraction was to be part of what IBM is doing, which moves a long way from your typical steel, white and blue corporate show stand.  Their event was themed around recreating the late night downtown diner scene depicted in Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks painting from the 40s.  It represents loneliness and alienation.  IBM are the sponsor, but their partner Collaboration Matters came up with the concept, created and hosted the stand.  The front of the cafe was peopled with actors who remained in character throughout both days, and who alternated between the original solitary view, and using smart phones, iPads and Macs to collaborate and connect with people.  Each character had their own Twitter identity so we could interact and break through the social isolation. ...
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Back Blogging (again) and Fresh Business Thinking

I just want warn the Internet and social media addicts everywhere that I will be back blogging again on a more regular basis from today.  I've left a big gap since my last post although I've carried on tweeting and RTing snippets and the good stuff - the Twitter community that I follow still gives me the best, filtered access to quality content and ideas from out there.  I've been addicted to Twitter since 14 February 2007 - It seems appropriate that our 5 year love affair started on Valentine's Day!

I haven't been completely absent from publishing blogs as Cloud Advocates started a regular email newsletter called Cloud means Business over on Fresh Business Thinking.  The newsletter goes out to over 70,000 subscribers, and each post goes up on the FBT site too.  I write 2 of the 4 posts each month, and we are just about to publish the 8th edition.  I'll repost some or all of those 16 articles here in the coming weeks, and I'll add links in a side column soon.  As well as that I have half a dozen draft posts languishing in Evernote ready to be completed.  Thank heavens it isn't a blank page....

The thing that finally spurred me back to action was contributing to the ...
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Why WordPress ISN'T A Good Choice For Your Website

Last month I did a guest article for Jemima Gibbons monthly newsletter on  Freshbusinessthinking.com about Social Media Monitoring and Analytics.  In that same newsletter Nikki Pilkington argued why WordPress is a good choice for your website.  I decided I wanted to argue, passionately, the opposite, and my article has just been published there this month.  Here is the BTZ version.  First I need to disclose that I'm a stakeholder in a particular CMS/Platform developer (author of WordFrame and PageTypes).  However, I'll try and explain my case as objectively as possible. 

The first thing to say is that Nikki's article starts with a vital, core truth - whether your website is created by you, some experts in your team, website developers you've hired or an external agency, it needs a content management system (CMS) at its heart.  You need to be in control of the content without needing technical expertise.  You shouldn't be paying an agency or a developer every time you want to change a word, add a page, or move a menu option.  But is WordPress the right CMS for your website?

It's a blogging tool, not a CMS
WordPress is great ...
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Bloggers, wannabes and the Zen of Blogging

Last Thursday I sampled the latest incarnation of the London Bloggers Meetup, as organized by Andy Bargery and friends.  This meetup has been running for years, but it was my first time.  What sparked my interest was a combination of meeting Andy at a Social Medial Week London event in January, the sheer numbers that had signed up (167 at the time I booked on), and the chance to hear how Leo Babauta  grew his Zen Habits blog to a readership of over 200,000.  I think the other reason I went along is that I'm trying to find the atmosphere and energy of ideas in the melting pot that I used to feel way back in 2007 at OpenCoffee Club when it ran at a Starbucks Regent Street and then Waterstones, Piccadilly, or at The Tuttle Club from it's start early in 2008 and well in to 2010.  I felt the same thing at CreativeCoffee Club sessions - where has it migrated to?


Although over 100 people packed in to the basement of The Long Acre for a noisy, lively event, that particular spark I'm looking for wasn't there at LBM.  I saw but didn't get a chance to speak to a smattering of longstanding bloggers like Judith Lewis (@JudithLewis on Twitter), Rachel Clarke ( . ...
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Social Media Week London - more out than in

Social Media WeekEarlier this month, starting February 7, Social Media Week ran in 9 cities, with plenty of events running in London.  I watched some of the live streams from Likeminds based events that sounded very good in terms of content although they hit some broadcast problems, kept in touch via the Twitter hashtag and then I dipped in in person on Friday 11.   The networking and meeting friends was excellent, but the content was variable.  My impression of the week was too heavy an emphasis on outward facing social media marketing, social networking and influencing but very little on how social media tools can help organisations do better or teams work more effectively.  In my opinion that emphasis needs to change. Too much fluffy social media marketing and not enough about getting things done.

I started at Talk Talk, with an event explaining the business of blogging. The event had Andy Bargery of  Klaxon Marketing and founder of London Bloggers Meetup providing top tips for business blogging success (@andybargery on Twitter), Lucy Payne from Pass It On Media talking about blogger outreach and blogger engagement (@lucypayne) and Phil Szomszor of  ...
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Hello World!

Keeping up a blog is hard.  I've been at it since October 2005, posting regularly up until May last year, but then I went AWOL from Business Two Zero for a while until today.  My 5 year anniversary on the web came and went with a whimper, and I felt guilty, but not guilty enough to get off my arse and blog - that's got to change!  I've kept up tweeting and chipping in to the conversation at various places, but I need to get back to regular posting and making a real  contribution.  In the intervening time there have been plenty of cloud, collaboration and enterprise 2.0 developments, and I've got more involved in the standards topic.  I've also had some new technology to play with…..  I've switched to a BlackBerry Torch - finally we've got a BB with a proper browser.  I've gone Amazon Kindle, and now I can carry round dozens and dozens of books and get more reading done in the gaps and on the road.  At Christmas, my wife enrolled me in the iPad generation... Expect reviews on those 3 things in the next few weeks.  I've got a selection of books to comment on too - from Vinnie Mirchandani's "The New Polymath" to "Graceful" by Seth ...