Defrag Blog

Crossing the Social Media/E2.0 Chasm

by Eric Norlin on Aug.29, 2009, under Uncategorized

Gia Lyons put up a very interesting blog post yesterday entitled, “Social Media is from Mars, Enterprise 2.0 is from Venus.” In it, she talks about her experience at a recent conference, where she experienced the gap between what we think of as “social media” and what we think of as “enterprise 2.0.” Gia goes on to suggest that a “relationship-centric” enterprise (or in Jive-speak, “social business”) would understand and bridge that gap.

Gia then put something on twitter about the need to address this, and I raised my hand - as I know (having been there) that Defrag is entering the third year of doing so. Gia asked for agenda examples, and (damn you, Gia!) that left me lying in bed at 1:30am last night thinking about explaining how Defrag addresses this “chasm.” So, here we go…

Sponsors:
Let’s start by looking at the sponsor list, or more specifically - juxtaposing some sponsors against each other.

Companies like Socialcast, Box.net, and Atlassian are *clearly* focused on the enterprise 2.0 space. On the other hand, companies like Social Media Group, Chatterbox, CoTweet and Networked Insights are clearly NOT in the “enterprise 2.0″ space. For example, Networked Insights describes itself this way:

“We build software tools that analyze the social web to help advertisers and marketers make better strategic and tactical decisions. We’re not just interested in the loudest voice in the room and tracking the things you already know about. We listen to the silent majority (in addition to the vocal minority) and we uncover concepts that you might never be aware of. We generate insights that provide a continuous feedback loop for companies. It’s a HAL-9000 for today’s company.”

[sidenote: there are actually 2-4 *more* sides to the chasm Defrag bridges -- see Truviso, Collecta, Boomi and Collibra for examples. I just didn't want to muddy the waters here.]

In fact, we have vendors that are beginning to bridge this social media/e2.0 chasm on their own - the most obvious one being MindTouch (more on that later).

Sessions:
Okay, the sponsors are there, but “what about the sessions?” you ask. The thing that we *plan* for at Defrag is discussion. Lots of it. So, what you’ll see in sessions, are topics arranged in common topic areas that will spur this discussion on. I guess I’ve been saying this for a long time, but not well.

At Defrag, we cover the INTERSECTION of topic areas like enterprise 2.0, social media, the semantic web, real-time search, business intelligence and data analytics. You can see that reflected in sessions on the agenda, and more importantly, you’ll hear it in the conversations that you have at Defrag. That, I think, is one of the primary things that makes Defrag different from the 3 other shows you could attend in the same timeframe.

Attendees/Participants:
Okay, the sponsors are there and the agenda aligns, but are the attendees (I prefer, “participants”) going to reflect that? Uh yea.

This year more than any other, I’ve had conversations with people that will be attending Defrag precisely BECAUSE we’re dealing with the gap between social media and enterprise 2.0-y stuff. Generally speaking, these are IT individuals with budgets who have seen an executive team spin up a group to deal with “this social stuff.” Their job, badly defined, is to understand the social media side of things AND to grasp how that plays into the networks and collaborative tools being set up *inside* of the enterprise. The smartest of them already know that by connecting the two, you’ll actually find the holy grail in this whole mess. These folks can’t find what they want at a conference that addresses only one side of this equation (I know because they’ve told me so), so they’re coming to Defrag.

Conceptually Speaking…
What is the “bridging concept?” Gia already alluded to it. Setting up collaborative mechanisms inside of the enterprise to expose informational dark matter and give birth to better work process flow (ie, productivity) is the cousin of setting up externally facing mechanisms that do the same thing with your customers. In fact, the “barrier” we place between them is almost entirely artificial, as are the constructs of “customer” and “employee.” In 2 years, your employees will be interacting with your customers via things like Facebook and Twitter whether you’ve set up mechanisms or not. Ladies and Gentlemen, all aboard the Cluetrain.

Yes, there’s a reason that getting the Cluetrain guys on stage together at Defrag (for the first time in 10 years) makes so much sense. The Cluetrain Manifesto spoke to the humanity of business, the internet and all of it before anyone really even understood what the hell that meant. In fact, I’d argue that nearly everything you see in “social media” and “enterprise 2.0″ today can find its kernel in The Cluetrain (and EVERYTHING in social media is nearly explicitly spelled out in Chris Locke’s follow-on book, Gonzo Marketing).

Bottom-line: If you really wanna elevate above the miasma, pull yourself out of that buzzwordy quagmire, and explore the space between enterprise 2.0 and social media (and so much more), there is really only one place you can go. I hope you’ll join us (early bird expires monday at close of business) - that means you, Gia. ;-)

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