By Charlene Li on October 11, 2012
[crosslinked from LinkedIn]
As someone steeped in social media, I’ve been watching each of the presidential campaigns closely to see how they are using social media well – or not. [Disclosure: I worked on Obama’s campaign in 2008 and have donated to it this election season. I also went to the same high school and business school as Romney. To the extent possible, I’ve tried to be objective in my analysis, but inevitable, my biases will come through.] Here are some observations, as well as opportunities for the future:
The key for Romney in these closing days of the campaign is to tap into his loyal base on sites like Facebook and Twitter to share with their undecided friends the Mitt that they know and believe in. But socialgraphics – the social behavior of key audience groups – are stacked against him. According to Pew, only 25% of Republicans are likely to recruit people to get involved with political issues that matter to them, as opposed to 35% for Democrats. But even worse, social networking site (SNS) users (84% of SNS-using Republicans and 79% of SNS-using Democrats) say little or nothing of their recent posts have anything to do with politics.
My takeaway from this analysis is that while the campaigns are using social media in creative ways, they both still miss more opportunities than they capture. The biggest is that neither has created a culture of sharing with their followers. Activity is still focused on messaging, and a predictable call-and-response routine of asking for donations and the cash register singing.
In the end, votes win elections. With a dismal 58% of the US eligible voters actually voting in the 2008 election, the campaigns could be doing so much more to engage people in a dialog, encouraging us to share our views not on politics but the issues we care about. But in the polite company of our friends, we do just the opposite and hide our political leanings from each other. My hope is that in the waning days of this election cycle that more of us will be inspired to engage in civil discourse directly with each other, in the social channels that we inhabit.
By Charlene Li on August 29, 2012
by Charlene Li and Chris Silva
Google announced Google+ for Enterprises today with Hangouts integration into Docs and Calendar as well as administrative controls such as default posting to only within the company. We’ve been doing some research on the topic of enterprise social networks and, with Google moving into this market, have some thoughts around why this is a bigger deal than just another Google feature announcement.
Google has a few things going for it that the pure plays like Yammer and Socialcast in this market don’t have and that tools like Microsoft’s Sharepoint have not yet built out:
Will Google+ for enterprises save the oft-maligned network? We think that a better way to think of this is what Google+ for enterprise reveals about Google’s intentions for its social efforts. Google+ doesn’t seek to be the biggest social network or the one where people spend the most time. Instead, Google+ seeks to be the most embedded social feature in the lives of its loyalist users so that they will never want to leave Google.
Look at Facebook’s biggest problems — it needs to constantly innovate and offer new features to fight off upstarts and retain its users. LinkedIn struggles to get people to even come to their site for more than a few minutes a month. Google+ isn’t a destination — it’s a ubiquitous presence that’s always there and now all the more so if you’re a Google Apps user. This is about social being where you need and want it to be — it’s social being like air.
Do you think Google+ for Enterprise will make a difference against competitors? Do you agree that it makes Google+ more relevant — or will it have little impact? We’d love to you know your thoughts so please share with us!
By Charlene Li on June 26, 2012
Microsoft announced that it would buy Yammer for $1.2 billion, after a week of speculation that the deal was imminent. From my perspective, having researched the enterprise social networking space (see report), the acquisition is a continuation of current trends in the industry and makes a lot of sense for both MSFT and Yammer.
Yammer CEO David Sacks wrote in a blog post about the acquisition, “When most people thought social networking was for kids, we had a vision for how it could change the way we work.” When Yammer launched at TechCrunch four years ago, it won the “best in show” award from judges and it’s been on a rocket ride since then for two simple reasons — it’s free and people love using it. The result: 85% of large companies have Yammer inside their walls.
That love-driven virality is a key reason why Microsoft bought Yammer — after all, who would use the word “love” to describe Microsoft or a product like SharePoint? The fact is that Yammer and its competitors are creating new way for work to get done, that is not only effective but also — dare we say it — makes work fun. Microsoft knew that it was behind in the enterprise social networking space and could either build organically within SharePoint or acquire. I think they did the smart move by buying Yammer as it gives them not only the largest independent player, but also penetration into virtually every company that already is using its products.
The challenge going forward is how Microsoft will integrate Yammer into its Office offerings, in particular, SharePoint. Yammer already enables integration with SharePoint that inserts microblogging capabilities right into SharePoint, making the enterprise app much more social. Up to this point, the main selling points of ESNs has been that they just had to be better than SharePoint’s built-in social tools. That is no longer the case, so you’ll see other enterprise apps companies scrambling to snap up remaining players like Moxie. Here’s a graphic from my ESN report from February that shows how the world (used to) stack up in terms of players — this is a game being played by the big enterprise players now.
While there is concern that adding Yammer makes worse an already-confusing mix of Microsoft offerings, it’s nothing compared to the bewildering situation facing CIOs when it comes to ESN. One CIO shared with me that he faces a situation of having Salesforce’s Chatter, VMWare’s Socialcast, Yammer, and SharePoint all running within his organization. And that didn’t include rogue installations of Box and Google+.
In the end, it makes sense for each company to have one — and only one — enterprise social network in order to ensure universal access. Thus ESNs like Yammer become battlegrounds in the way that other foundational enterprise tools like email, IM, and CRM have become. In this way, Yammer makes a whole lot of sense for Microsoft, as it becomes more integrated into all of its offerings, rather than remain a standalone. Here are some examples:
Posted in Enterprise, Research, Social business, Social networks, Strategy, Uncategorized | Tagged altimeter, charleneli, enterprise social networking, esn, microsoft, sharepoint, yammer | 11 Responses
By Charlene Li on September 23, 2011
Leading up to Facebook’s f8 conference today, my biggest concern about the rumored new “Read. Watched. Listened” buttons was that Facebook was becoming more and more superficial in its interactions. This was especially the case when compared to the deep interactions and engagements found on Google+ (which suffers from the problem of not having nearly enough people on it to sustain those deep conversations, but that’s another post).
But Timeline beautifully solves this problem in two ways. First, Facebook automates the sharing of everyday, miniscule activities that most of us would never bother to expose. But because ALL of it shared as a feed, the whole becomes available and accessible, and thus interesting. You don’t care that I listened to Billy Joel just now, but you may find it interesting that I listen to him any chance that I get.
Second, the items in the feed are seen in two ways, in the Tickler blended in with all of the rest of debris of our lives, and in Timeline where it’s laid out against the context of time.
It’s this second aspect of the announcements that I find so fascinating, that we now have the context of time to add to our sharing. To understand this evolution and put it in perspective, let’s take a quick look at the history of sharing within social networks. I have long contended that there are three things that make social networks unique: your Profile, your Relationships, and your Activities (see figure below).
Over the past few years, each of these components have evolved. When we first began on our online social journeys, who could have thought that we would be sharing photos of what they were having for dinner online? Yet people frequently not only check into restaurants but also post photos what they are eating, as well as who they are having dinner with. Our notions of privacy and what we will share change with the perceived value of that sharing. We benefit from the people who have shared before us (you ordered the dish because of a review). We like reading about our friends culinary adventures, and so we reciprocate. The cycle continues to evolve as we expand the things we are comfortable sharing.
And the driving force of this evolution has been Facebook. More than any other company, Facebook has pushed the boundaries of what we will share and how share it. News Feed was met with derision and boycotts but in the end, people found it too valuable. Beacon in 2007 was pulled because it pushed the envelop too far, but that was also instructive to Facebook as they learned how far and how quickly they could push the limits of sharing.
Now Timeline and auto-feeding of your activities is pushing the edge again. Understandably, people are uneasy about EVERYTHING in their lives being shared on Facebook. It feels like too much power being bestowed on one company. To ally concerns, Facebook is starting in safe territory. This first phase enables media content, which is rarely embarrassing, as long as you don’t stray into X-rated categories. The discovery benefits of seeing what my friends read, watch, and listen to are also evident – I want to find my fellow Billy Joel fans amongst my friends.
But how far will this go? Here are some future scenarios and applications that could take advantage of an activity auto-feed:
How far are we willing to share our information and activities? Look no further than to our real lives because we do it all the time. Our credit card transactions are captured and resold to direct marketers. Our Caller IDs – which used to be private – are shared. Caller IDs in fact are a great example of how our notions of privacy get flipped upside down by utility. When Caller ID first came out, many people regarded it as a violation of privacy and were uneasy with the notion that people could see who was calling them. Today, what happens when you get the message, “Blocked ID” on your phone? You don’t answer it! That flip in privacy took about eight years to happen.
But Facebook doesn’t have the luxury of years to change our mindsets around privacy – it has weeks. It has put in place numerous controls to be able to manage the permissions around Timeline feeds, from what is included to who can see it. In the end though, what Facebook is investing in is Trust. Pew Internet recently released a report that showed that Facebook users are far more trusting that the rest of the Internet. “A Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.”
Facebook is counting that this remains true, and that sharing will continue to expand at the rate it needs to in order to fulfill this vision.