How ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ might save Social Media’s bacon in the boardroom

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.

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The Future of Mobility Growth: Things not People

In Barcelona on Monday, AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega told the Mobile World Congress (MWC) that industry growth due to “consumer saturation” might not be as big a problem as some may imagine. And he is not betting on a human population explosion. He is betting on the Internet finally growing to its full potential of connecting not just everyone, but also everything. From what I have seen, this is becoming a  reality.  The salient point to remember is:  even when the entire human population is holding a smart device or tablet, we only have half the equation solved.

To put it in perspective Ralph talked about networking trash cans to make them more inteligent, but I blog on the Airlines so I am going to put this into the context of the transportation industry.

Here is how the ubiquity of mobile applications is driving more machine to machine devices for the airline industry.  The first and most obvious example is baggage tracking. I remember rubbernecking from my window seat in Albuquerque to ensure my bag was being thrown on the conveyor belt back in 1990. Ouch.  No more. Now I can check my baggage location from a airline mobile Application. As an example, Delta is doing a fine job with this today. These days, for the most part, the bag is being scanned by mobile devices held by airline employees, but coming soon a mini receiver will be placed on that bag to give real time access to its actual whereabouts whenever desired weather on the ground or in the sky.

On a grander scale, airlines themselves need to keep track of a lot of heavy equipment and personnel to operate it all. From airplanes to baggage cars to trucks it is a lot to keep track of.  Enter the vehicle tracking services that operate on the mobile network and allow instant access to the whereabouts and diagnostics of heavy gear.

Finally, airlines also have a lot of personnel to track. Confirming that so many jobs are completed to ensure airline safety, punctuality and comfort is met can be daunting. Airlines are starting to track many of these jobs via handheld devices that not only log the jobs being completed, but also confirm the location that job is done. This ensures the task is taking place in the right place at the right time.  Still other ideas are waiting to be explored such as personal gate information and communication from the network based a flyers location in an airport or around town. The key to all these new applications is that the mobile consumer or employee can instantly get status and make better decisions based on the information.  Customer satisfaction and improvement of the human world we live in naturally follows. Amen!

Back to the prospects for the mobile communication: placing devices into the hands of people is only the beginning and we are arguably not finished doing that. Networking all the devices and things in the world that those people can control and manage is where the power and industry growth will be in the coming decade.