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Employees Staying Away From Internal Corporate Social Networks

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the it's-so-uncrowded-nobody-goes-there. dept.

Social Networks 131

jfruh (300774) writes As social networks proliferated in the early '10s, so did the idea of a corporate social network — a Facebook-like community on an intranet where employees could interact. Unfortunately, corporate users are staying away in droves, perceiving the systems as one more in-box they'd have to take care of and getting their social-networking fix from Facebook and the like. From what I've seen of these internal networks, another good reason is that they're not as good as the full-time social networks are, and offer access only to a small universe of particpants anyhow. They're like a central-casting "rock band" in '80s movies — they come off as conspicuously aping the real thing.

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besides that (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#47376353)

...the whole idea of social networks is to get *away* from work....

Re:besides that (4, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47376603)

Internal networks are typically set up with some goal in mind, like to "promote new ideas and enhance creative discussion". The main problem is that their existence is driven by the goal, not by demand. Employees are not asking for these tools. Employees can actually meet and talk to each other, there is typically already an infrastructure set up to support that. Therefore, employees are not getting any benefit from them.

Re:besides that (3, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | about 5 months ago | (#47376635)

The trick is could these be use by telecommuters to feel more like they are at work?

Re:besides that (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 months ago | (#47376837)

No, that's what email, telephone calls, conferences, and chat is for. A social network at work is redundant.

Re:besides that (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 months ago | (#47377143)

Personally, I don't see "Facebook" as a "social network" because there is no "network". It is a Social Hub. But whatever.

Re:besides that (1)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47377833)

You're using too new of a definition of network. Think of the "network of associates" concept, not a physical topology of computing devices.

Re:besides that (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 months ago | (#47378401)

Personally, I don't see "Facebook" as a "social network" because there is no "network". It is a Social Hub. But whatever.

It's more of a router... geez.

Re:besides that (4, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#47378487)

It's more of a router... geez.

No, it's more of an overactive IMAP server with a busted spam filter...

Re:besides that (2)

knightghost (861069) | about 5 months ago | (#47376725)

I disagree. Employees are scattered across the globe so cannot meet and talk. Also, there are so many layers and locations that often its hard to find the right person to talk with.

When done right, people with good ideas get recognized and those ideas promoted, questions get answered, and transparency is added.

When done wrong (most the time), ideas are stolen, people waste time, and politics are played.

Waste of time (4, Informative)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about 5 months ago | (#47376989)

...(1) the only contributors are employees with time on their hands, who tend to be the drones. Those employees who actually know someting useful to you are too busy to waste time with crap like this
(2) the only employees who will tell you anything at all are ones you have actually met face to face - otherwise you are not a real person, and they don't trust you, no matter what you say.

Been there, done this with a multinational corp.

Re:Waste of time (2)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#47377373)

...(1) the only contributors are employees with time on their hands, who tend to be the drones.

Maybe. They do need extra time to type something up that can be read the way they intended it.

Those employees who actually know someting useful to you are too busy to waste time with crap like this

I'd say it was because the people with the knowledge are busy applying that knowledge to the issues that have arisen that affect X people. Do they have time to type a reply to your question if your question isn't shared by X other people?

We've all had to wade through different forums looking for answers where there are thousands of threads NOT related to what YOU are having a problem with.

And no one thinks about the problem the same way YOU do. I cannot print. Why? Because I changed my password and forgot it and cannot login to get the document to print it. So it is a printing problem.

(2) the only employees who will tell you anything at all are ones you have actually met face to face - otherwise you are not a real person, and they don't trust you, no matter what you say.

I've seen this in action and it annoys me. The people who get their problems addressed are the people who:

a. Have the time to camp out next to someone until that someone fixes their problem.

b. Have a manager who can demand that the other manager re-allocate their workers' time to fix the problem.

c. Have already established a friendship with the person who can fix the problem. I brought cookies for you! Hope you like them. By the way, there's a small problem with the X. Could you look at it sometime?

Re:Waste of time (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#47378329)

> (1) the only contributors are employees with time on their hands, who tend to be the drones

In fact, I have to wonder if the purpose of a hypothetical corporate social network might be to identify the drones.

...for the same reason you see the same group of people at every social mixer during work hours...

Re:besides that (1)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#47376873)

Think about the things you do and say with your friends AFTER work.

How many of those things would you want to personally document for your boss (and his boss and his boss ...)?

So when those interesting things are absent from the "social" media part it becomes just another boring means for management to distribute work-related material. Just like all those boring "team meetings" that you are forced to attend. Where the exact same material will be covered AGAIN for anyone who did not read the internal site.

Re:besides that (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47376975)

Good point, but don't equate "work social networks" with casual social type of interaction seen on Facebook. They are really to do work related stuff,explore ideas and share information. Employers can read your emails, so having a 'conversation' on a social tool should not be a problem as long as you don't include stuff you wouldn't include in a meeting or email.

Re:besides that (2)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#47377247)

Employers can read your emails, so having a 'conversation' on a social tool should not be a problem as long as you don't include stuff you wouldn't include in a meeting or email.

But that is the problem. There are already different avenues for that same professional interaction.

If you want a permanent record of something you write it down and submit it to management.

If you want a permanent record of the discussion of something you put it in email.

If you do NOT want a permanent record then you meet in person. Or use a phone that the company does not control (record).

They are really to do work related stuff,explore ideas and share information.

That's too much of mixing the informal with the formal. And leaving a permanent trail. People can already do that at the water-cooler or coffee machine WITHOUT it becoming a permanent record at HR. And if someone is remote you can always include them on speaker-phone.

Re:besides that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376953)

And then, there is the "lean organization", in which everybody below C suite levels is already overcommitted. Take a vacation, and you're swamped on return because there is no effective backup. If anyone expects employees to participate in an enterprise social network, the other components of their work must be scaled back by a similar amount. But that's not going to happen, so nobody participates in the stupid networks.

Re:besides that (3, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 5 months ago | (#47377099)

Plus criticism has to be heavily censored and moderated, comments may end up being career limiting, and since there is no anonymity, the dialog usually driven by the strongest personality in the company, who likely is also driving every other damned thing to the ground. It's better not to have any such forum, or if forced upon you, to ignore it as vigorously as possible.

Re:besides that (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47377183)

Again, its all about purpose. A forum to introduce new ideas and openly discuss them should not require any unwarranted criticism to be useful. The personality dynamics may come in to play, but strong personalities already impact all aspects of company activities. You can actually set rules in a forum setting that minimize those impact.

For those that see social forums as primarily a tool for criticism, the idea of a useful corporate too would clearly be unpalatable.

Re:besides that (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377225)

Bingo! None of our users want to touch the damned thing that management bitched so heavily that we needed. Now it is just one more kneejerk made VM sucking away our resources.

One of the biggest avoidances is because they think they will be handing HR information in a gift wrapped box. And they are pretty much right.

Re:besides that (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#47377581)

Internal networks are typically set up with some goal in mind, like to "promote new ideas and enhance creative discussion". The main problem is that their existence is driven by the goal, not by demand. Employees are not asking for these tools. Employees can actually meet and talk to each other, there is typically already an infrastructure set up to support that. Therefore, employees are not getting any benefit from them.

The other problem is they're often set up to be a means unto themselves. People have email. They get notified when an email comes in and they respond. Internal social networks mean they get an email to check the damn site, which for a lot of people adds absolutely no value to their work.

And that's the thing, the internal social networks add little perceived value. People don't want to check another inbox when they have a perfectly good one already. Especially if it's pushing work onto them. E.g., you want to solicit feedback on something - people would be happy to email you their comments, but if you ask them to post it on an internal webpage, response will be lower because they see extra work they need to do in order to satisfy someone else's optional request.

Re:besides that (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 5 months ago | (#47377589)

You kinda got it right. Corporate social networks are there to promote the distribution of information. But for God's sake, do NOT call them "Facebook for the Enterprise", "Enterprise Social Network", or anything like it. Do not mention enterprise, do not mention facebook, twitter, instagram, or any other idiotic time killer. Call it what you want - "Acme's place for Engineers to comment on feature update requests from PMs", "Worldwide Information Sharing Platform", just don't use the Facebook analogy.

Second, employees are asking for tools to better share information. Sharing your latest beer run or cake social pictures is not information. Sales people want to know if someone knows someone at corp A, where they just got a meeting for. Support people want to know if anyone has seen weird behavior x that isn't documented anywhere, and hasn't been tagged in a case yet. Others want to know if there are some good presentations on a topic so that they don't have to create them by hand, or just want to get in touch with someone in a particular position but who they have never met. An enterprise social network helps that.

Here's the third issue, and this is where most corporate social networks fall down. It has to be used by the execs, and the execs have to show to everyone how to use it right. If they start posting pictures of their latest executive retreat where everyone has a Margarita in hand, or they start to talk about what movie they saw over the weekend, shit will irretrievably go in the shitter. Lack of adoption of a corporate social network is always and every time the fault of the corporate leaders. Whether the execs, or just the people everyone wants to listen to.

Re:besides that (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376773)

No. The idea of social networks is to spy on you. To collect as much information about you and use it in some way, often to make money. The whole "social" thing is only relevant as a marketing term. They might as well call them spying networks. Did you sleep the last 10 years?

Re:besides that (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#47376845)

No. The idea of social networks is to spy on you. To collect as much information about you and use it in some way, often to make money. The whole "social" thing is only relevant as a marketing term. They might as well call them spying networks. Did you sleep the last 10 years?

Ok, given that, what would a work-based social network be? What's next, social.gov?

Re:besides that (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47377033)

No. That was first.

Re:besides that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377199)

Why are you being purposely dense? It's like Facebook but at a company. Management hears all the chit chat going on between the employees. Just like Facebook listens in on all private conversations.

Re:besides that (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#47378613)

Because sometimes it's important to have others make a point rather than monologue it yourself. I thought that was obvious.

Re:besides that (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376889)

Exactly, who the hell wants to socialize with their co-workers??? I'm just here to collect a paycheck. Most of these idiots are the ones tat make my life miserable as it is.

Re:besides that (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 5 months ago | (#47377005)

...the whole idea of social networks is to get *away* from work....

I beg to differ. The whole idea of social networks is to con the sheep into providing personal details that can be sold to those willing to pay for it.

Re:besides that (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#47378367)

...the whole idea of social networks is to get *away* from work....

I beg to differ. The whole idea of social networks is to con the sheep into providing personal details that can be sold to those willing to pay for it.

Which is even more of a reason not to participate in a work-related social network.

Re:besides that (1)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | about 5 months ago | (#47377655)

Perhaps but the whole point of an ESN is to keep work at work. I've seen Yammer used reasonably well with a couple of distributed technology groups for micro-blogging, and having chat channels (Skype, Lync, HipChat) is very useful. My current engagement is mostly from home, and our company ESN allows us to be productive without having to commute.

Re:besides that (1)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about 5 months ago | (#47377847)

It's not just that, but that we behave and socialize differently based on context. Cops being recorded conduct themselves differently, you talk to your best friend differently than you talk to a coworker on the job and to your boss. A workplace social network by default imposes the workplace context that causes people to limit their speech with any code of conduct necessary. Even if you try to divide it up by topic and level of formality, it is still recorded and under scrutiny. It's much better to get a close knit team behind closed doors where they can speak frankly to each other (whether that's vulgar language that's only deemed appropriate by all parties within the conversation or criticizing work done by colleagues outside the group) without fear of offending a third party.

Monitoring (4, Insightful)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | about 5 months ago | (#47376369)

You think the boss will not monitor internal corporate social network. You can place a lock in your Facebook inbox, you cannot put one in internal corporate social network.

Re:Monitoring (5, Insightful)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | about 5 months ago | (#47376491)

I assume anything at work is recorded/stored and can be retrieved on request. This is problematic if you have asshole coworkers and/or bosses. Better not to leave any trace. Anything I access at work is on a personal laptop tethered to my cell, or failing which, an SSH tunnel back home.

Same here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376777)

I also place locks "in" my accounts. You should see the look on the face of cyber criminals when they discover a lock, inside my account rather than outside, just sitting there looking mean and threatening.

Re:Monitoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376883)

Yep, number one reason I don't use the corporate social network. It's just another way to get fired, and to keep track of people talking of unionizing.

Re:Monitoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377107)

You can place a lock in your Facebook inbox

Is this how far we've come, that Facebook (probably) being in control of your inbox instead of you being in control, is now viewed as the relatively secure approach? (since at least your problem is with Facebook rather than your employer)

What I love about your explanation, is that it really does make perfect sense within its context, and yet it's also absolute garbage in an absolute sense. A "lock." That's so cute!

Re:Monitoring (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 5 months ago | (#47377117)

More likely is that the internal social network will be a place where employees bitch about work problems thinking that someone in power actually READS those messages and cares. It will turn into a suggestion box that nobody every opens.

There's nothing "good" about facebook but users (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376377)

The users come for access to the other users. That's the real draw, the social aspect. If you have an alternative with a smaller subset of the people you're trying to connect with, managed entirely by your employer with the non-zero risk of disclosure and discovery... it's kind of obvious why that doesn't appeal the same way.

The problem is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376383)

Managers do not want people wasting time.
Employees do not want evidence for managers that they were wasting time.
A company controlled social network puts these at odds, because to be sociable while working, you have to waste at least a little bit of time.

Re:The problem is obvious (3, Informative)

Bengie (1121981) | about 5 months ago | (#47376697)

Around here, being sociable is called being a team player. The CEO and other board members repeatedly tell us how valuable the friendliness of our company is. They've also mentioned in the past that because people know each-other and communicate a lot, efficiency goes up when it comes to customer care because there are questions that the standard scripts cannot answer, and that takes knowing whom to ask. A bureaucratic process is inefficient.

Re:The problem is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47378181)

Who cares about efficiency in a large company? They can lay off some workers and get a stock pop, then they bungee to the next company after gutting the company for it's inevitable fall.

Another layer of worry (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376397)

Not only the internal "social network" are not as robust as the one outside of the company structure, the internal one also comes with another layer of worry --- that is, all the participants are workers of the SAME companies and that the BOSS are watching and listening and reading and RECORDING every bit of info

Not that the things they are doing in FB are not being recorded (NSA, anyone?) but at the very least workers do not want their boss to know too much about themselves

But more importantly (5, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | about 5 months ago | (#47376401)

there are no games!!! What's the point of a corporate social network if users can't grow virtual crops and live stock???

Re:But more importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377111)

There are plenty of games: like taunt the conservative and bait the religious zealot. Of course, the lack of anonymity presents an obstacle. Not an insurmountable one, however.

maybe that's the secret to CSNs! (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 5 months ago | (#47377197)

Maybe that's the secret to CSNs: ramification. Somehow trick the staffers into coming up and exploring new strategies via online corporate games. Like "see what happens when you fire the marketing department", or "the teamsters have gone on strike: now what?"

That would be hilarious, and might even be useful.

Re:maybe that's the secret to CSNs! (1)

AgentSmith (69695) | about 5 months ago | (#47377895)

Might as well just have random games of Paranoia with the color levels replaced by departments.

in a world of social justice warriors... (5, Insightful)

kick6 (1081615) | about 5 months ago | (#47376417)

who get you fired for thinks you did OUTSIDE of work *cough* Brendan Eich *cough* the idea that I'm going to WILLINGLY put another bullet in these asshole's gun is preposterous. It should come as no surprise to employers who place inclusiveness and diversity as corporate goals above profit and shareholder value that no one wants to risk inadvertently being offensive on a social intranet.

Re:in a world of social justice warriors... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376707)

As someone who sits on the sidelines in the Social Justice War, I find it is mostly assholes who are "inadvertently being offensive."

Re:in a world of social justice warriors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47378521)

You are aware, in the U.S., that nobody has the right to "not be offended"?

Survey Says! (4, Insightful)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 5 months ago | (#47376435)

Implemented properly, ESN can be beneficial, analysts say.

Analysts say do they?
Well, if I were an analyst whose livelihood depended on implementing and supporting ESN, I would say so to.

Re:Survey Says! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377637)

I'm still stuck on the "implemented properly" part. I'd love to see that solved first.

Unfriend (4, Insightful)

Ly4 (2353328) | about 5 months ago | (#47376495)

If I 'unfriend' the guy in the next county, no big deal. If I unfriend the guy in the next cubicle, things get a bit more complicated.

Re:Unfriend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47378157)

Kids kill their Facebook account because they don't dare unfriend Mom. Mom stays away from her CorporateNet account because she doesn't dare unfriend her PHB...

Another big problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376523)

Your boss snooping through all communications. Sure he can watch your PC anyway, that's why people usually avoid Facebook at work

Re:Another big problem (2)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | about 5 months ago | (#47376579)

An LCD privacy filter works wonders. That and my boss is short and can't really peek at my monitors without a ladder :)

Utility is the least of the problems. (3, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | about 5 months ago | (#47376535)

Why would I want everyone in the entire corporation to know everything about me? It's just like when my company invited everyone to "like" them on FB a few years ago. Yeah, right, so they can keep tabs on everything I do outside of work. Outside of payroll, or my boss, all anyone needs to know about me at work is my name, my title, and perhaps a photograph.

Yammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376537)

We spent goodness knows how much on a corporate Yammer account for several thousand employees. The only people who use it are marketing folk and senior managers.. I am guessing that they authorised it. Other that that.. well, I'd post a picture of some tumbleweed on it if I really wanted to be fired.

Re:Yammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376627)

This, so much this. We have 90,000 or so employees and got licenses for probably 10,000. Then Microsoft's crazy accounting / licensing caused about 6,000 users to take all 10,000 licenses (people have multiple email addresses - one is their user ID@company the other is friendlyname@company and somehow MS counts both). I was "forced" to sign up for the corporate Yammer by a program I am a member of. Turns out, they didn't really mean it so I don't use it - but I take up licenses. We do have a handful of people who seem to spend all day Yammering. We have a few managers who are always saying, "did you see xyz on Yammer" or "can you reply to abc on Yammer" to which we always say, "No, I don't use Yammer".

Re:Yammer (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 5 months ago | (#47377269)

We're using MS SharePoint and it doesn't do licensing by email, but by Active Directory account. It sources all of the account data from AD, so no duplication of accounts.

Re:Yammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376713)

I remember the Yammer purchase. It was around the same time the Windows team all got "secret" $8k bonuses for the release of Windows 8, while MS Office purchased Yammer and we got no extra bonus.

Re:Yammer (1)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 5 months ago | (#47377647)

At the time I was trying Yammer out it did not have support for animated GIFs. If it did I'd probably be able to get 99% of my job done by reducing email server's load of animated deliciousness.

Email is the new Fax (1, Troll)

Trachman (3499895) | about 5 months ago | (#47376563)

I have very successfully managed implementations of several transformations where amount of work has been reduced by approx 90-95% by moving several processess to social networks, Yammer to be specific. There are many areas in the corporate world that would benefit greatly from broader adoption of work and communications within social networks. When I will be managing my own business enterprise, which I hope will happen soon, there will be no email for everyone. My prediction is that in the corporate world of productivity, email will take the role very similiar to the one currently taken by the fax and I predict that it will take 15 to 20 years for that. If anyone is interested I would be happy to share some of the best experiences.

"Why are we doing this?" (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#47376615)

Whenever you set off to do something like "setting up an internal corporate Intranet site", you should always be very clear about your answer to this question: "Why are we doing this?" As in, what problem are we solving? How do we actually imagine this being used?

Lots of people will start something like this and think, "This application looks cool. It's like Facebook, but private and we can control it." And yeah, it may be fun to set up, but why are you doing it? What problem does it solve? Does it serve a purpose in disseminating information in a way that a normal website or email mailing list would be less effective? Does it aid in collaboration somehow? Once you have a clear answer, then you have to have a plan on how to get buy-in from employees. How are you going to get them to think it's a good way of accomplishing whatever it is that you hope it'll accomplish? Why should they bother with it at all? You need to convince them and then remind them to follow through.

But none of that works if there's no purpose in the first place. Is the intention just to socialize? First, they can do that in Facebook. If they want a more professional setting, that's what LinkedIn is for. Beyond that, lots of those people are sitting in the same office building anyway, so they can meet face to face. Throw them a little cupcake party on the first Friday of every month. It'll be cheaper, and people will like it more.

Re:"Why are we doing this?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376659)

How about we just try it out and see what happens?

I am sorry, the central planners do not approve.

Re:"Why are we doing this?" (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 5 months ago | (#47376949)

Whenever you set off to do something like "setting up an internal corporate Intranet site", you should always be very clear about your answer to this question: "Why are we doing this?" As in, what problem are we solving? How do we actually imagine this being used?

That sounds like it might make a good first post for your wall.

Re:"Why are we doing this?" (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 5 months ago | (#47376965)

The questions, I mean.

Google + is a mess (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#47376621)

Our company moved to google+. I am still not able to figure out a way to keep my corporate profile visible only to the corporation. The circles user interface does not make it obvious which email id is being added to which circle. So many of my personal friends and acquaintances have added my corporate profile in their circles. I see my personal profile in the friend list of colleagues.

Only reason no one is complaining seriously is because no one takes google + seriously.

Re:Google + is a mess (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377861)

As bad as google is, imagine if Apple designed a social network! Based on iTunes!

  • If you have anything plugged into your USB port, you cannot add new friends
  • After the slow process of adding 5 friends, you notice an option to "sync" your friends with your facebook account. Upon clicking it, all of your Facebook friends are unfriended except for the 5 friends you've added to your AppleTalk account (without a prompt, of course)
  • Turning off your browser without logging out of your AppleTalk account removes all your friends
  • You can charge $1 for people to add you. Apple gets $0.50 of this. That seems fine, until you realize that you want to add 20 people and fewer than 40 people will want to add you.
  • Logging into Facebook while your AppleTalk account is logged in will unfriend anyone in your AppleTalk account that's not in your Facebook account (without a prompt, of course)
  • Every time you update your browser, AppleTalk may or may not remove all your posts and make you recreate your AppleTalk account
  • Next year, AppleTalk 2 will be online, it's only $399 to join, and it's the same as AppleTalk except now you can have 100 friends instead of having a max of 50 friends

Just make it simple (4, Informative)

beermad (961336) | about 5 months ago | (#47376629)

When I worked for British Telecom, we had nice simple internal Usenet newsgroups. Some specific to particular business-related areas (like programming), others hobby-based (cycling, swimming, etc.) and some just for general chit-chat. No need for any expensive social-networking websites or anything like that, just a simple Usenet server buried in a data centre. It used to be a great way to get to know colleagues all over Britain, as well as a terrific resource when you needed help getting something working.

Re:Just make it simple (2)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about 5 months ago | (#47377049)

I agree. I was a contractor at BT. The internal Usenet was the absolute world's best way to find how to keep your home broadband working when the router BT supplied was trying to sabotage your connection, bandwidth, wifi etc etc. Or when Openreach cocked up supplying your broadband connection in the first place.

Re:Just make it simple (1)

rizole (666389) | about 5 months ago | (#47378295)

A few years back the civil service had it's own internal twitter clone. It's goal was for Whitehall types to be able to network but in practice it ended up colonised by benefits call centre staff who were stuck at thier pcs and often had time to kill when call volumes lulled. It was some of the most fun I've had at work with memes, running gags, songs of the day, twisted lyrics, mornington crescent, a proper, successful internet community of professional people from accross the UK, largely like minded, legitimately goofing off in down time. It didn't affect my productivity ( I was certainly happier in my crappy job), we kept it clean and within obvious bounds of proper behviour and although we were frowned upon (Freedom of information requests would have shown that this work tool was just social funtime), they couldn't just close us down.

It did get killed in the end after I'd left the service but I'm good friends with many of the people I met there on other social net works.

NOw if you'll excuse me I've the llamas to clean out. #Jelly_baby anyone?

Knowledge base not social network (4, Interesting)

duckgod (2664193) | about 5 months ago | (#47376641)

A knowledge base is one of my company's most treasured resources. I can't stand the idea that two of my employees might share good info and the rest of my company would be locked out. I encourage all questions to be asked on the forum for anyone to answer. Then the info is easily searchable by everyone later on. I pay my employees for everything they produce in the office. Whether that be an end product or an aha moment.

Now to sell this as a social network is marketing bullshit. I have no use for people sharing vacation photos or making political remarks. Keep that shit on Facebook.

Re:Knowledge base not social network (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377101)

Privacy is theft!

Don't dis 80's movie rock bands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376649)

Don't be dissing Ellen Aim and The Attackers, the Stains' or even The Looters. And Spinal Tap, can't forget Spinal Tap.

I'll take them over 90% of the real bands today, and over 90% of the real 80's bands as well.

Dare you to post critical opinions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376699)

Our internal boards are littered with ass kissing comments and platitudes. At first I actually read the posts but now my outlook rules send all of it to the digital waste bin as nothing of it has ever been relevant to my success

CSN (4, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about 5 months ago | (#47376729)

...Or, otherwise called, Corporate Social Networks, are loathed by many employees because they're shoved down said employees' collective throat.
It's not something attractive, but rather mandatory, and people don't like being given directions in this regard.
Some CEO thinks it's a good idea or finds this as a new toy, and then he enforces its use, his directs roll the shit downhill and all of a sudden the cubicle dweller HAS to meet a weekly/monthly activity quota. It defies the very point of a social network.

Of course, there are some hilarious effects that pop out:
- A VP posts some corporate bullshit and everyone under him comes in droves and "like" that post because they wanna look good and enter said VP's graces.
- Similarly, some douche posts some corporate BS and then begs colleagues for "likes".
- Proper collaboration tools are ditched because CSN is today's buzz and then everything happens through the social network rather than stuff be sent through the most efficient channel.

Not to mention that corporate social network software is badly designed, badly implemented, more often than not requiring a separate account to be created specifically for it, spamming inboxes with newsletters, assigned flags and daily digests, erroring out, eating drafts and posts, the UI is horrendous, the integration with other software is buggy as hell.

For example, out corporate social network has an Outlook Plugin which we were told to install. More often than not, the plugin bugs out and disables paste functionality for the entire machine. It took me hours to narrow down the culprit after finding out I can't copy/paste anything anymore. So now whenever I can't paste stuff I close and re-open my Outlook, which happens too often.

Just like Communism, it's a good idea. In theory. Only it ignores how humans work.

They already have email, why anything more? (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#47376735)

Look, 'social networks' consist of a compilation of several functions - email, blog, games, and simple push broadcasting for associations you join.

Works already provides emails and usually has a tech group that sets up email groups for push broadcasting. push. Generally you don't need the blog, and work actively discourages the uses of games.

Could we make a successful social network for work? Yes. All you have to do is:

1. Make it your ONLY form of email - in particular make the subgroups the only way to make email groups.

2. Use the blogging functionality extensively. Make it your wiki/source for information about how people do their job, what to do when they can't reach you, when you are on vacation, who to reach when you are unavailable, etc.

3. Let people play games on it for upto one 50 minutes a day (i.e. lunch hour.)

Spot on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376755)

Same thing happened at my company. There are restrictions on using social media for any work related discussions but a lot of collaboration was happening via instant messaging, cloud storage, etc.. They bought an in house social media platform (IBM Smartcloud) but because it was so painful to use, the adoption rate was quite poor. It tried to replace all the tools that were banned from a security standpoint including Google Docs and other cloud tools, IM via facebook and Hangouts, video conferencing via Skype/Hangouts/Facetime, etc..

Smartcloud in particular has been annoying as heck. It apes (poorly) things like Google Docs. There have been issues with formatting and ability to share. E.g., unless someone was a member of Smartcloud community, you couldn't easily share documents. Since we do a lot of work with other companies this meant the tool was useless so we had to go back to email attachments which are a 1990s approach (imagine the versioning nightmare with multiple collaborators). They tried to shove it down our throats so now when we need to share a doc we save it to the Files app, share it with a few people then publish a version, download the version, then attach it via email to the other recipients.

On top of this, were formerly a Notes shop and still have about half the broadcast messages point to an internal URL that's not accessible via the Internet. This means I get messages with a subject like "IMPORTANT: HR Information - MUST READ" and a link to https://revenue001/some/path/t... [revenue001] that won't work unless I'm on the VPN on in my cellblock/cubicle. OK, so this would be the same whether I use Gmail or Smartcloud, but now it's sort of a tossup. At least the old way required me to be on the corporate network so there was no guesswork.

Re:Spot on (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 5 months ago | (#47377305)

You can't access your cloud network from the Internet? WTF? How is field sales supposed to access important documents with their Droid cell phone or iPhone?

Google+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376767)

Everyone is already on facebook. Google learned saw this issue first hand.

Some of them like Yammer have potential, but you need a critical mass to make it work. You can't just toss 3% of your users into one and expect it to take off. It is not going to have any value on its own, especially if it is an after thought.

Re:Google+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376907)

Our company tried Yammer. I was really lame; nobody knew what to post on it.

Work related? Put it in JIRA or Confluence. Non-work related? keep it off the corporate network. What's left? Nada.

Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376769)

What the hell is an "Internal Corporate Social Network"?

SharePoint Server 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376847)

All I could do was sigh when I first saw this in SharePoint Server 2013, I blame Microsoft for this bullshit trend.

Don't give them ammo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376879)

No one with a brain would post anything on a "social" network that can and will be used against them later. In this climate, you'd be nuts to post anything anywhere.

Managers - stop calling me "family" - I am NOT your family - you do not fire family members to give yourself a bigger bonus - companies aren't family.

Re:Don't give them ammo! (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47377115)

So that's why mom stopped returning my calls...

Just say no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47376891)

Shouldn't one stay away from *all* 'social networks'? Hasn't it been sufficiently demonstrated that they are an unsatisfactory replacement for actually interacting with real people in the real world? Hasn't it been sufficiently demonstrated that the companies running these 'social' networks are just out to sell you and your personal information for a quick buck (meaning, they will happily violate you and your privacy in order to make money)? Hasn't it been sufficiently demonstrated that the things you put up on a 'social network' will come back to bite you?

Corporate social networks simply make the evils of such things much more evident because they operate over a smaller community in a known and restricted space - meaning that the illusion of anonymity cannot be maintained. Hence people start to think realistically about the impact of what they say on those forums. What is looney is that people don't realize the same concerns apply when posting to facebook and others because that sense of anonymity is just that - an illusion.

Brownnosebook (1)

paiute (550198) | about 5 months ago | (#47376901)

The internal social network where I used to work became an echo chamber of self-congratulatory announcements by management followed by efflusive and fawning ass-kissing comments by the serfs. It got so sickening that I had Outlook send the email updates (which was the primary form of communication of this particular software) directly to trash. Nothing of any use to me ever came across it.

Re:Brownnosebook (2)

disposable60 (735022) | about 5 months ago | (#47377085)

Nothing of any use to me ever came across it.

But how will you hear about the new cover sheets for the TPS reports, now?

Enforced fun (2)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#47376919)

This just reminds me of the tedious work social events designed to promote social interaction.

I guess they're tolerable if they're on work time -- I have to be around these people during work hours anyway, I guess interacting in a non-work mode on someone else's dime isn't a problem.

But when the activity is off the clock and on my time, I'd really rather not.

My company has one, ... (1)

spads (1095039) | about 5 months ago | (#47377121)

though it neither seems seriously pushed, nor does it divert from other, more practical modes of communication. It is mainly just there, perhaps as a pleasant, occasional distraction. My company places too high a premium on actual, focused activity to push it.

If I was tempted to experiment with a SN, it would likely be a somewhat contained one, like a CSN, because I don't believe in just "opening my (actual) self up to the world".

Sharepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377253)

One of the main reasons I don't use corporate social media is because most companies build them using Sharepoint.

Wrong thing for wrong reason (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377283)

The thought is fairly simple: "Everyone" uses "social" so to facilitate communication inside the corporation... well, let's go "social"!

Yet it's wrong. The root cause is somewhere else: Ineffective communication, as evidenced that a large part of internal communication consists of laments how the communication is so poor, and if only everyone would...

Well, there's a simple fix: Start with yourself. Learn how to communicate. Learn what type of communication is appropriate, when. Yet we do none of these things. So nothing improves. So email is a burden, because even if it's free from spam, it's full of equally mindless drivel that you still have no choice but to slog through. Same with voicemail. It's required listening for no good reason. Same with most meetings. Same with plenty other crap dragging you down.

I guess people really need to learn how to use email, voicemail, fax, letters, memos, meetings, and so on. It never really takes off because everyone is terrible at it, and it only really works well if you have a critical mass of people doing it right. We lost that critical mass on the larger internet in 1993, and so the civilised way to use it is no longer fashionable. Turns out that's a drag, but with too many people unaware they're incompetent, nobody knows how to get rid of it.

Yet you can. Start with some light reading in RFC1855, pick up a(n old) book on effective writing, think really hard what you want your participants to get out of meetings and set them up just for that, organise timely agendas and minutes so as to be useful, think really hard what you want people to get out of your communique and how to get them there, and so on.

It's hard work, but if you get enough people within your group to put in that work, if you get them to be that much more effective at saying what they need to say, then the overall volume goes down, signal-to-noise goes up, and ultimately everyone wins.

Cooperation sounds pretty social to me. But for that people need to work together, and you can't just fix that by slapping on a piece of software. So sorry.

Some day - not yet (1)

aggles (775392) | about 5 months ago | (#47377377)

The main problem with corporate social software today is that the business dynamics are different than public social apps. With Facebook or Google+, you are a user, not a customer, and advertising is the business model. With corporations, you buy, not build the software and typically it is bloatware, trying to meet the needs of a selection committee with vague goals. So, if you can find anything good, it will be expensive (SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, etc).

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) had a vibrant social network from the mid-80's to the mid 90's, based on a rewrite of the CDC Plato software. It eventually evolved into Lotus Notes and bloated into crapware. In it's day at DEC, over 400 "notes files" were active, half business related - and non-business topics to encourage use by everyone. Below the management level, the company ran on "VAXnotes". Management hated it, because it wasn't the way they were comfortable working and disrupted their authority. Did this kill the company? Perhaps. It sharpened the disconnect between management and the workers.

Today, combine bloatware social tools that basically suck when compared to public sites, with corporate rules that discourage non-business use, combined with the spyware culture that social tool reporting provide - and we see failures due to non-use. Once those that grew up with social tools grow into management positions, the popularity of corporate social tools will likely grow. Use of social business tools "CAN" be a powerful tool if the corporate culture embraces it. It "WILL" make companies more competitive if the culture can act in a more coordinated way. Just, not yet.

Yes and no (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 5 months ago | (#47377451)

Almost every social network offered by companies that I have seen were stupid, so oddly enough they failed. There would be "messages from the president" or tripe from HR reminding employees not to grope each other along with other passive aggressive crap about someone not following the rules that some asshole thought they could enforce about trash can etiquette. What these sites tend to have in common is either they are ego driven or they are very complicated.

But at the same time I have seen some awesome simple sites that worked really well. One company that I visited had a site with basically 3 sections. One was the useless section from HR. The second section was a discussion group as to how to make the company better (and had reddit style up down voting). And the last section was an internal craigslist buy, sell, and trade thing. Needless to say the HR drivel was 100% ignored with zero comments except from HR. The improving the company section had animated discussions that were very detailed and I was told resulted in many changes from an ink recycling program that saved millions to moving a light pole that more than halved the time to park a truck in their loading bay. But the spectacular success was the buy and sell. Quite simply people seem to prefer to deal with people they know so the deals were almost non-stop.

On a side note one other company(very large) that I recently visited basically had their own Linkedin which was just a giant circle jerk of people posting their accomplishments "Most TPS reports filed in 1 week." And that was it. I very much doubt that the company or the employees derived any value from it making it a net loss for the company after all the time and money that would be wasted on it.

The single best corporate social network that I have recently heard of is an app where you can rate your co-workers. I presume that it is going to be an eye opener for some ego-maniacal bosses who find out that they are reviled. But more importantly it will allow companies to identify their most controversial employees who need further investigation. "Doug in accounting smells really foul and leers at all the women. Bert in the warehouse lives way to well on his tiny salary, does that explain the stuff that is always missing? Susan thinks she is sexy but isn't and needs to stop hitting on the interns. Ralph is a hidden gem, I wonder if the higher ups know his boss takes credit for all his work? I wonder if Ralph knows that his boss assigns him all the blame for his own screw ups?"

corporate: Being an employee vs doing your job (1)

netsavior (627338) | about 5 months ago | (#47377577)

The truth is, "Management" has a job which is largely "be an employee" eg. Their job is to organize and think about and fine tune the company and team.
non-management has a job which is "Make, sell, process, or manufacture widgets." eg. write code, process loans, sell tires, whatever.

There is always an imbalance. Management naturally gravitates toward more and more of an employee's job entailing "being an employee" whereas non-management seem to universally prefer that as little as possible of their working hours be consumed with non-occupational "being an employee" tasks.

We used email so much that email is now so high-volume and meaningless... I know "High priority" flags will solve all of our problems.

Ok now 500 "high priority" emails a day are received and unanswered for each employee.

Corporate Instant messenger! Sametime, Microsoft Office Communicator, Lync... Our problems are solved! Now we can side-step email, since it always goes unanswered.

I know! people love checking facebook, lets set up a corporate newsfeed that is totally the same!

Could it be because they suck? (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 5 months ago | (#47377579)

The one they set up at my work [whitehouse.gov] had a 'what are you doing?' question, but it wasn't searchable... so if you wanted to try to find people who might be working or have expertise in a given field ... you got nothing.

It likely doesn't matter anyway -- due to how tasks are broken down, it's not like everyone wanted to advertise their skills. I've got a lot of experience that I don't list on my CV, as then I get people asking me about how to fix things all the time. As I'm a contractor, that puts me into awkward positions where if I help people from other projects, I can't charge time to their tasks ... but the company I work for requires me to track & bill every hour. The prime on our contract had suggested the it / sysadmin have a mentoring system, but to the best of my knowledge, they've never worked out how we'd change our time for it as we're divided up across 200+ tasks.

Yammer vs Skype groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47377607)

We have Yammer at my workplace. Noone used it, except maybe those that pushed for it.

Thr whole development department used Skype Groups, and it works very well.

One solves a problem for us, one do not.

Absolutely ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47377967)

corporate users are staying away in droves, perceiving the systems as one more in-box they'd have to take care of

I've been around many of these, implemented by various companies.

The people who own it champion it, everybody else more or less gets told that all the useful stuff will be in there and you'll need to do it.

So, you get the company cheerleaders (some appointed, some voluntary) who say how wonderful it is, and you get a few curious people who may or may not keep up with it, and you get a slew of people who are actively saying "in what way does this actually help me do my job?".

And the reality is, they almost never do help you to do your job. It's just another thing you're supposed to act like is useful and say how honored you are to bask in the glow of the CEOs wise choices.

Increasingly companies don't give a shit about you, have no loyalty or investment in you ... and expect you to to drink the Kool Aid and be on board with every stupid thing they do to a level of drooling zeal.

To me, at-work "social" networking is, and always has been, a pathetic joke. It doesn't improve my productivity (in fact, it's an impediment), and it's one more thing I'm expected to check regularly and act like it's cool.

But, like every other fad ... everybody says "ZOMG, we have to have teh social networking". And cynical old coders like me go "blah blah blah" and don't use it.

Internal Social networks are useless (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 5 months ago | (#47378381)

It's just a vehicle for brown-nosers to suck up to their bosses. It's the online version of the office Christmas party. You can't express what you truly feel on these corporate websites for fear of offending someone. And trust me - you will offend someone. This is the world we now live in.

And God help you if you get on the wrong side of the HR drones. HR is is full of girls that couldn't get a date for the prom and guys that got stuffed into gym lockers. They live for this shit. It doesn't matter if you are the most productive employee on the team. If you get anywhere near that gender/ethnic/sexual preference/political affiliation line you will immediately be branded as a sexist/homophobic/xenophobic malcontent and tossed out on your ass with astonishing speed and compunction. Within the blink of an eye you will be left standing in the employee parking lot with a cardboard box containing your personal effects and your letter of dismissal pondering your next move.

Or, you could just avoid the company social network. Your choice.

Practical Uses of CSN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47378587)

1) Locating expertise.
- Argument For: Finding somebody that knows three specific technologies and speaks a specific language can be difficult.
- Argument Against: This can be done with a properly setup LDAP, no CSN needed.

2) Central Repositories of Information
- Argument For: Maintaining Standard Operating Procedures is quick and simple, use a wiki and make it a living document as things change.
- Argument Against: This requires good processes that does not come with the technology. Fast-forward 4-5 years and you'll be amazed the amount of crap just sitting out there. Also, no CSN needed.

3) Global Sharing of Knowledge
- Argument For: Experts can blog about their experiences and lessons learned.
- Argument Against: As another poster already commented, the experts are backlogged as it is and don't have enough time for this.

I could go on. A company may be willing to invest to update the technology, but not the processes. Oh the CxO suite will cheer about it but when it delegated down to middle management the real value gets lost. Main point is the technology isn't the issue, its the culture / processes that go with the technology that really need to be addressed. TFA hit this near the end, which I was surprised to see. See also: many failed CRM implementations.
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