Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cultural shift: email vs blogs and wikis

Alan Moore (Communities Dominate Brands) draws our attention to an Interesting report from Information Week

It reports from the Enterprise2.0 Conference in Boston:

"Joe Schueller, who's driving P&G's adoption of new collaboration tools asks: How about e-mail, which Schueller describes as the biggest barrier to employee use of more interactive and effective tools.
"As a sender of an e-mail, I control the agenda of everyone around me," Schueller says. E-mailers decide who has permission to read a message... Blogs, in contrast, beg for comments from those most interested."

Schueller gives us a great example of how the hierarchical and centralised power and information structures of a company have come to prevail in its dominant choice of communication tools.

Email is, essentially, a broadcast tool. It's perhaps why it is losing currency with Generation C - who now show a marked preference for text (shorter and far more immediate - replicating better the dynamics of a live conversation) over email.
Their obvious preference for social media of all kinds derives from a preference for persistent conversation over the 'post-it' note of an email.

What simple and elegant examples of empowerment and emancipation of the network derive from this: Why email when you can blog? Why email when you can join a wiki? Why email when you can text? Why email when you can twitter? Why email when you can post on a Facebook wall?

Email, of course, retains some value for direct one-to-one external broadcast transmissions (ie, I need to get a post-it note on Mr X's screen at Company Y). Its value for internal groups, or social customer interaction is clearly far less.

Perhaps it is simply because of this: Email has the advantage of privacy. The flip side is that it is not the right choice for sharing, collaboration or empowering networks.

That's a lesson for internal communication - and for all those who understand there is a network of power just waiting to upgrade their ideas.

Anyone for a ban on email?

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?