I was in MInneapolis last week having drinks and food with a client at Tilia in the Linden Hills neighborhood. A quick plug for Tilia: The food and atmosphere is sublime, not to mention the draught beer and wine selection!
A colleague of ours had sent a hilarious email reply to something we were both copied on. “I was looking for the ‘Like’ button when I saw that”, my customer laughed. I got to thinking, we got to talking and we each had a second cold drink. Wouldn’t it be great if the business tools we have today incorporated the best aspects of Social Media? Dream with me a little! Here’s how it might work:
1. You receive a well written email from a colleague that really clarifies a work issue and isn’t just spam. You could ‘Like’ it and even comment back. The ‘Like’ would appear on the company-internal Social website of the sender with just the subject line of the email not the content. Executives sending communiques would no longer need to elicit feedback, a ‘like’ may do it for them or a comment posted privately or publically on the sender’s wall would replace zillions of emails back and forth and all the confusion created. I am in Sales. How many times have I responded ‘Congats’ to a team for a big win that was just blasted out to me by email. Neither would be needed in the Social Media fantasy work world.
2. You develop an awesome Powerpoint presentation or white paper. Forget Sharepoint, post it on your Social site. Others can view it there, ‘Like’ it and post it on their site for people in their network to also review and share. Peer reviews of the work would always flow back to the author and changes and modifications could be tracked with appropriate permissions and acknowledgements for whoever the original creator was.
3. Hook the internal site to external blog/twitter/LinkedIn to give people at the company who require a public facing persona to do so. This external version of the corporate person could be better controlled by company policies and could be kept better up to date for busy executives.
4. Inquiries from the greater public to company public-facing employees (salespeople, leaders, industry specialists) could be better controlled and responded to. Who is following whom could be easily extracted and used to increase Sales efficiency and find external suppliers to fix internal problems.
5. Back on the company internal Social site, an internal version of Klout (a social media site that tracks your influence across the web by the amount you publish and how it is received and shared) could be applied. Come salary review time, remove the subjectivism and simply use the Klout-like score to determine the worth of the employee to the company across all of the above. The score would work nicely for internal folks and external facing Sales and Industry Marketing types. Special incentives could apply for those attaining the highest scores in any given company division or function. Finally, voting and polling would be a snap to gauge the most popular new ideas being circulated or a call for new ideas from company divisions, departments or the entire organization.
The next morning I awoke again to the cacophony of articles explaining why companies need to get with ‘Social Media’ and decision makers ignoring it because they cannot find the ROI. While companies dig in, a subculture of the world I describe above is growing around them. It should be a fascinating ride to watch this transformation take place one way or the other.