Zeit·geist = spirit, essence of a particular time

A collection of food-for-thought posts and articles on technology, business, leadership and management. 

Social Networks in the Enterprise. Are We who We are? or are We who We work for?

Last Friday I had the opportunity to participate in Club de Presidentes Expansión @clubpresidentes, an event organized by Carlos Beldarrain @cbeldarr  and  Javier Cremades @javiercremades. This edition focused on one of the trendiest topics now, influence of social networks in corporate environments. There were top-notch presenters, starting with Enrique Dans @edans, from whom I always get valuable insights to understand second derivatives around social networking in particular.

Besides Enrique, we had David del Val @ddelval0 from Telefonica Digital (formerly Telefonica R&D), who is also a fellow runner (we ran together Madrid's marathon this year). David convinced the audience of the benefits of yammer (corporate, closed version of twitter), as an enterprise tool and an efficient internal communication channel.

Prior to the event, I had a chance to discuss with David about smartphones and mobile platform evolution (picture below, extracted from Enrique's awesome presentation). We talked about proprietary approaches, move on to open standards and ended up on future net phones (let's leave this topic for now as it could generate additional 15 pages).

Next... we also enjoyed speakers like Joshua Novick @jnovick, CEO at Antevenio, Mauricio Prieto @mauprieto, CEO at edreams, and outstanding participants in the audience like Marcos de Quinto, @marcosdequinto, a seasoned twitter user combining it with C-level responsibilities as president of CocaCola group in Spain.

These were my learning bytes:

- Getting above 100K followers in twitter doesn't necessarily mean you had a revolutionary strategy or secret tactic. In the case of @edans, it all happened by coincidence when Twitter-masters back in their headquarters decided unilaterally to recommend Enrique as a preferred Spanish speaking twitter user. Immediately afterwards, his twitter account made a leap forward of 30K followers and, from there, organic growth and good content made the rest.

- Metrics are important. Once you tweet, facebook or post anything, you need to dig into the stats, check how many people have seen it and clicked it. You need to know what topics does your audience prefer and, most importantly, you should use emotions around your messages, humor, irony, surprise, etc.

- The boundaries between professional and personal are blurring, twitter is a great example. When I am twitting, who am I? Eduardo (an 'average' human being) or the managing director of a big corporate?. Enrique and Marcos de Quinto defined it clearly, we are both indistinguishable the majority of the time, and this is because, at the end, we ARE the same person who IS working for a corporate.

- Off twitter: protocol term to avoid off-line conversations to be posted in twitter.

- Klout: online reputation and influence, another topic for a long, long post. Talking with Enrique, I truly realized there is a huge opportunity for someone to take the spot on and standardize online reputation. Klout appears to be the rising start in this front, and eventually may become de facto standard. Interestingly enough, we will see Klout index as part of our CVs, included in our skills profile, as a critical metric to evaluate our competencies.

There will be also a retro-feeding effect based on your certified online influence. The higher your Klout index is, the better your content will be positioned by internet machinery. Your content will have more relative value and will generate more buzz around you. This is not yet happening widely (although I have seen seesmic adding Klout index to twitter profiles), but, when a standard is established, it will revolutionize how content is consumed and impact around it (a huge business opportunity here).

Finally, we couldn't go further on this one, but Enrique and Javier Cremades touched it during their presentations. Social networks do not change anything by themselves, everything remains the same deep inside, in the same way there was a revolution, last century, and legal controversy around privacy rights as a consequence of newspapers advent, we live today a similar digital media disruption. And today, newspapers are called, traditional media.

Javier mentioned privacy rights and referred to 1898 debate caused by yellow press in US, when Brandeis & Warren "the right to privacy" article was published, which is today, considered the most influential legal article of all times. This article resembled the profound sociologist changes originated by press and newspapers at that time (similarly to what social networks are doing today, for further reading see Anthony Guiddens and the telecommunications revolutions as main catalyst for globalization)

@efernandez Harvard Law Review, the Right to Privacy, 1898, Warren, Brandeis. Articulo imprescindible, de mas de un siglo, para entender hoy
October 22, 2011

We are living a phenomenal deja vu, where social networks today are what newspapers were last century.

Last but not least, Enrique did a mention in twitter after I explained how the BlackBerry outage happened and the use we made of my twitter account to report in real time. Grateful for it, considering he has nearly 140K followers.

Buenísimo @efernandez contando los insights de la crisis de BlackBerry y el uso que hizo de su cuenta de Twitter #Clubdepresidentes
October 21, 2011