Media Share in the Social Intranet

Ich bin veröffentlicht (albeit in a small way!). Below you can read pages 274 and 275 of a book called Social Intranet: – Kommunikation fördern – Wissen teilen – Effizient zusammenarbeiten. (Cited by permission from Dirk Dobiey, one of the book’s chief authors.)

Social Intranet talks about the many aspects of SAP’s successful internal communications platform — our “social intranet” — which is managed by the organization called Knowledge Management Competency Center.

This chapter talks about Media Share, the project I am pleased to have shepherded into existence at SAP. In this project, we identified the need — and then set out to fulfill it — to help people easily share videos inside the company. While it’s easy to share media externally on countless social internet channels, internal sharing comes with its own challenges, which are both technological and business-related. We ended being part of a vibrant communications platform backed by an avid community and a company that demands new ways to be open and transparent internally. It has been a real privilege to be involved with this project.

Video sharing with Media Share is only one piece of the social intranet pie at SAP. Check out the whole book for more details on the vibrant platform inside SAP (if you read German since it’s only in German at this point).

Key excerpt auf English:
“Critical to our growth was listening to our community of users, seeing how they were using Media Share, and responding, as well as learning of the many bright ideas out there on valuable ways to use a video sharing platform,” Moya notes.

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The Quiet Sport and the Social Web

Richard Carter -- Tiger Woods at the 2006 Open, Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, UK.

Richard Carter -- Tiger Woods at the 2006 Open, Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, UK.

Both the #WorldCup and the #USOpen merited their own hashtags on Twitter in the past few days, but whereas one trended wildly and loudly, one hugely popular event with celebrity starpower stayed relatively quiet — at least within my view of the social web.

I’m delighted my father took me with him on Saturday to watch in-person the US Open in Pebble Beach. I was born not miles from this truly gorgeous spot, and though I’ve not exactly been a fan of the sport, I love my dad and was honored to spend father’s day weekend with him, and so close to where I was brought into the world.

But that spot, while beautiful, is exclusive. You can’t get to the area without paying admission to the 17 Mile Drive, and I’m not even sure if you can get on the golf course without paying admission. Lodging anywhere nearby was up to 4x its usual rate.

Not coincidentally, we were asked to shed our cell phones – indeed, any connection to technology – before we entered the venerable Pebble Beach grounds. I think I can understand the need to concentrate while swinging in a relatively quiet individual sport, but I can’t help but think that the exclusivity of the spot, the spectators, the lodgings, and the culture coupled with the mainstream-only nature of the reporting and lack of explosion on the social web not only lead to collective social silence but perchance the eventual sunset-over-the-pacific of the sport itself.

Contrast the relative radio silence on Twitter and the social web of the US Open, which closed yesterday with Northern Ireland on top no doubt thanks to our family’s Northern Irish influence, versus the noisy exhuberance of the World Cup.

dmix06 - d world cup vuvuzela

dmix06 -- d world cup vuvuzela

Not only did the event itself trend, but the countries, the goals, the people and the noisemaker itself — the famed vuvuzela — have taken over Twitter trending for days.  I know this is a world-wide event (as much as we think there’s only one kind of “football” in the United States), wheras golf is rather provincial in nature — cause or an effect? I could also ask myself whether the huge lucrative US Open event would really care to be a worldwide Twitter trending topic.

I appreciate the gorgeous isolation of a rocky inaccessible beach as much as the next, but as a person existing in the world and more and more thanks to the social web, I feel it’s my duty, right, and necessity to share this world and the things I enjoy on it, and this is part of how I appreciate Twitter. And yet even I’m not beyond wondering if all this noise is always a good thing.

The real irony may be that collective access destroys and we can thank exclusive sporting events and multibillionaire mansions for keeping our coastlines pristine (no thanks to their — everyone’s — oil dependency) and maybe, just maybe, a little exclusion is not a bad thing in the right places. Though I’m hardpressed to think of many things these days not changed by the noisy social web, golf, Pebble Beach, and its people appear to be exactly that, and were certainly largely missing from the Twittersphere over the weekend. The man holds up the baton, says “hold please,” and the huge crowd is quiet, for the swing and beyond. Even the drunk medics are strangely obedient.

In the end, perhaps some sports join other battles of the more personal nature and are better played out on the private landscape.

Ode to Marilyn Pratt: Honoring the Advocate on Ada Lovelace Day

At the top of the city with @moyalynne and @marilynpratt on TwitpicOf course I’ve known Marilyn Pratt, self-described in her Twitter bio as “SAP Community Advocate working to be a sustainable citizen of the world,” for many years, and yet we only just met this week. I’d never even so much as exchanged email with her until this year, but we’ve had a hearty online relationship. She’s been a big advocate for me – for my blog content (both personal and on the SAP Community Network) and on Twitter. If you’ve been active on the SAP Community Network she’s probably been an advocate for you too. She has been omnipresent and synonymous with online community at SAP, and so it was both stunning and unsurprising when I met her in person to find just how much more she is. Did you know, for example, her first computer language was Assembler, or that she directed IT for a kibbutz? Have you heard about her husband and five children, who are obviously as dedicated to her as she is to them? Did you know she came to SAP, in a roundabout way, as an escape from a truly (literally) toxic situation?

The second I found out Marilyn was visiting Palo Alto from her hometown New Jersey during Ada Lovelace Day, my schedule turned upside-down. She arranged for me to participate in an awesome interview with Marge Breya. She set aside precious time to meet me — out of so many on her schedule — and, most profoundly, she let me show her my home.

I was honored to be able to drive down the road with her, introduce my family to her, take her to the top of my city San Francisco, dine with her, get a chance to sit and share with her, and follow her in her (tireless, and often sleepless) work dedicated to advocating for others — indeed, to “amplifying the voice of the disenfranchised.” She would find spotlighting herself the least worthy cause of all, and it was only under great collective pressure that she finally cracked and allowed me to allow her to — although she would not say so herself — let her tell it the best.

Ergo — in honor of Ada Lovelace Day 2010, I dedicate this to Marilyn Pratt, a true technology heroine who honors us all and makes advocating for the community her (dare I say our) core business. Without further ado: Marilyn Pratt

BONUS VIDEO! Marilyn at work on Ada Lovelace Day in Palo Alto:

“Amplifying the voice of the disenfranchised doesn’t mean a protest voice — it just means making sure that people who might demur have more focused ability to be visible and make themselves heard.”

— Marilyn Pratt, SAP Community Advocate

October 17, 1989, 5:04pm

I remember everything about that day 20 years ago.

It was a Tuesday. In the morning, Rebecca and I made plans to meet at Slim’s after work to buy tickets for the upcoming Phranc show. Then she went off on Muni downtown to her job, and I took a bus and walked to my job, at an architects’ office, on Townsend at 4th Street. On the top floor. In a brick building. On landfill.

I had only been working there for about a week, I think. I was temping. For lunch, I walked the couple blocks up 4th toward Bryant and ate Mexican food. It was a balmy, hot, humid, windless and dusty day. I ate a big lunch…

At 5:00pm, we were getting ready to leave work. I was sitting nearest the window to Townsend Street. My workmate Roxanne was sitting at a different desk across the room. Towards the entryway, there was a huge vase full of flowers against the wall, then the door to the emergency stairs, then the entry door.

At 5:04pm the rumbling began. It was fairly strong but not long, and I heard it as much as felt it. I heard the sounds of the bricks, just a couple feet away, rumbling together — a sound I shall never forget. I hadn’t gotten under the desk by the time it stopped – but as soon as it stopped, it started again, with a vengeance. I looked over at Roxanne just as she dropped out of sight below her desk. I promptly dropped under mine. The noise and the shaking was so incredibly violent; I was holding my desk so it wouldn’t rock away; I was holding the desk drawers that were flailing out. I was trying to keep my typewriter — typewriter! — from jumping off my desk and hitting me. I might have even groaned somewhat. It went on forever — and yet it had all stopped only fifteen seconds later.

Then there was silence. Which also seemed to last forever. But it must have only been seconds later that I found myself running down the emergency-lit stairwell the floor flights down to Townsend below. I’ll never forget (well, everything, obviously) the flower vase on my way out the door. The vase had lifted itself up and flown several feet, and laid there, a perfectly flattened smashed version of itself, flowers in tact, on the floor in my path.  I never returned to that job and never saw Roxanne again.

Outside, there was dust and heat and thick air. People were waiting in line at CalTrain phones (hard to believe – no cell phones, right!). I promptly thought of contacting my family, then about Rebecca. Was she stuck underground on Muni? Was she OK? I took off down Townsend towards our meeting point.

There was a huge cloud of thick smoke coming from the Marina area. I think I had already heard rumours of the Bay Bridge having fallen down. Then, two blocks from my work, I reached 6th Street at Townsend.

6th Street between Townsend and Bluxome; C.E. Meyer, United States Geological Survey; courtesy Wikipedia

6th Street between Townsend and Bluxome; C.E. Meyer, United States Geological Survey; courtesy Wikipedia

Down the short block, there was dust, there were a lot of people gathered, and there was a big pile of bricks. Somehow, I remember people were not moving very quickly — something I could hardly comprehend. I started towards the bricks; someone told me this: “You better not go any further; there are people buried under there.” Later I found out that five people died when the bricks had fallen on top of them as they were getting into their cars to go home.

I started to feel sick and worried about Rebecca and I started running towards Slim’s at 11th and Folsom. Homeless people had sprung into action and, since there was no power, were directing traffic in the SOMA area. I was terribly relieved when I found Rebecca, leaning up against the wall at Slim’s, waiting for me just as we had prearranged.

We had a beer at the Paradise Lounge on the corner and were watching a TV in there, that for some reason had power, when we figured we oughtta go see about our apartment.

It was now growing dark outside. The long hallway to our apartment on the second floor in the (brick) Skyline Building at Church and Market was dark, and the smoke detectors were going “beep, beep, beep,” which they would regularly do for weeks to come every time power went out again, as seemed to happen with the biggest aftershocks. We pushed to open our door — at first, the door was stuck and we were freaked out that it was wrecked inside. But it was just the stowed-away mirror doors that had fallen and blocked our path. There were a lot of cracks inside and broken plaster, and our refrigerator door was open — but other than that we were in-tact. I made a quick call to my parents to tell them we were OK. Then friends arrived.

Since we had a great central location, we were fortunate to have many visitors that night. Becky, who lived just across the street on 14th, came by. Later in the evening Lisa showed up — she worked in San Francisco and was waiting for the bus to take her back to Oakland when the quake hit. Others came by. It wasn’t until the next day that we heard where Becky’s roommate Angela was… Follow her blog for more on that.

We went and stood in line at the corner store and bought canned beer, batteries, and white bread, which we ate in candlelight, while aftershocks continued to freak us out all night.

That’s the basic story. There are many many strong memories in the shaky days, weeks, and months and years that came, such as standing in line for hours trying to give blood (when I was too faint by the end to donate), and being glued constantly to the TV (once the power came back on) to people I came to know as my guardian Angels, Pete Wilson and Anna Chavez. Every day for years after that — for as long as we lived in that apartment — I gazed at the leaves on the tree outside the window to see if they were moving. When there was still and calm, I was nervous. I craved the wind.

It was only 15 seconds those 20 years ago — and at 7.1, which somehow years later shrank to 6.9 on the Richter Scale, not nearly as big as some of the recent quakes we’ve seen worldwide. And in a pretty well retrofit city. Yet, those fifteen short seconds and the time that followed altered my own personal landscape, forever.

As a result of those few 15 seconds, I am now permanently claustrophobic, a terrified flier, and nearly always consider what I’m driving over when I drive the Bay Bridge. To this day my heart sinks when there’s an earthquake, regardless of the size, especially in the middle of the night, because I don’t get back to sleep. I tune into the radio (and now Twitter more and more) to find community to pull me through till morning.

On the other hand, I enjoy wide open spaces, I can usually tell you where the nearest exit is (along with all the other exits), and I value my friends and community so greatly.

So I finally commit this to writing today, in deference to the memory of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, and to my friends and my community, and most of all, to the powers of nature — and of love.

6th street between Townsend and Bluxome, today

6th street between Townsend and Bluxome, today

Serving the @NoOnProp8 Twitter community

Real-life stories from @NoOnProp8

@NoOnProp8 on Twitter

@NoOnProp8 on Twitter

Last night I tweeted my final tweets as “@NoOnProp8.” I immediately got so much good feedback and appreciation that I nearly regretted giving the account away (note: the account is not going away — Equality California will carry it forward to serve the marriage equality community).

However, I’ve had to accept that there is no longer a “No On Prop 8 campaign,” so to speak, or at least that we need to move on to different campaigns.  I’m also excited to continue to be working with organizations involved towards embracing and better serving online communities.

In contemplating all that great feedback, I decided that the best way I can show my appreciation for having been a part of this community is to share what I learned with you.  So here we go — what follows are my real-life “best practices” for building and engaging a Twitter community — I was originally going to say “creating a Twitter community” — but since a lot of it is just paying attention to the community that exists already, “serving” seemed better.  All of this is thanks to you, the community itself — I only had to tune in and listen.  I cull the main things I heard down into four easy themes: Inform, Engage, Listen, and Measure.

Inform

The  initial mandate of this official campaign channel was to point to all communications from the campaign, from press releases to videos. As the campaign, and the community, evolved, we loosened  the mandate with official blessing to push “non-approved” messaging that served the community. We still were sensitive to stay within the overall messaging parameters — by not spreading attacks of any kind or propagating violence, and by trying to remain compassionate, for example.  Here are the sorts of things we did and learned in the “inform” category:

  • Point to every “official” press release
  • Point to every blog post from “official channels” — such as from Kate Kendell
  • Point to every new video on the campaign’s YouTube channel
  • We’d also occasionally post “un-approved” more casual messaging, reacting to what the community was asking for more of (for example, connecting people at rallies while they were happening)
  • Use http://tr.im or other link-shortener to trim URLs (tr.im was a suggestion from @krabigail in the community!)
  • Don’t be afraid of over-tweeting — tweet multiple times throughout the day if you want — but try not to deliver 5 tweets at the same time. People will let you know if it’s too much (but not if it’s too little).
  • Let people know that we are people and tweet what is happening at campaign headquarters, in the city, personally — and include real names/Twitter names when doing this  (thanks to the blogger community, @QueenofSpain and more, for these tips)

Engage

When I really listened to what people were tweeting, responding, and direct-messaging, the “engage” part was really easy.  It did take a lot of time, however. If I could, it was clear I could have spent nearly the entire day working with Twitter and its community (but I had plenty else to do).

  • Follow back every new follower — also, direct-message at that time (NOT automatically) with thanks and encouragement.  May also use this opportunity to send a pointer to a current story or latest action or other item of interest, to immediately invite the tweeter to engage.
  • Respond to every direct message; respond to @ replies where it makes sense — where it adds a suggestion that serves the whole or encourages somethign everyone can do. (I @ replied people less frequently than I dm’d). Put another way: keep what’s relevant for the public stream in the public stream — direct-message people when it’s a personal conversation.  This is a point that I notice many business Twitter accounts doing differently, so I’m willing to adjust based on feedback.
  • Requests for promotion:  We got a lot of people asking to promote their own blog posts — which I appreciated — but generally I avoided using our Twitter for individual promotion — including self-promotion. I tried to keep that to my own Twitter account. However, I did encourage people to publicly “@” NoOnProp8 when they had a post – that way, it would appear in the public timeline.
  • Again, use our real names or individual Twitter usernames when engaging personally.  I suppose this is a bit like “self-promotion” — but people let us know they wanted to know we were people, so I would occasionally remind people who I was.
  • Ask people specifically to retweet sparingly.  People in general did a LOT of retweeting just on their own, which was GREAT, but I only requested it if something was REALLY important or time-urgent.
  • We also — and this is key to helping your friends and colleagues say the word “Twitter” with a straight face — used Twitter successfully as a donation channel in the campaign.  If you “try this at home,”  make sure you can track which funds are coming in through Twitter by through a parameter identifying the donation link.
  • “Mini-campaigns” for engagement — ask a question, and use tags plus http://search.twitter.com for a great way to surface results to everyone, providing visibility for people as well. Thanks to @Pistachio for setting the example here. It goes like this:
    • During the campaign, we asked “What are you doing today to beat prop 8?” and told people to “tag” responses by adding “#beatprop8”
    • At http://search.twitter.com/, search for “beatprop8” — http://search.twitter.com/search?q=beatprop8
    • After responses start to come in, you can then click “feed for this query” or directly “twitter these results” — which will twitter a trimmed URL to the search results. This caught on really well.

    Provide a place to just BE — if people are venting, let them vent; support; connect

Listen

This one is really key. You can tell from all the other sections that we got a lot of good things to do out of just listening.  Examples:

  • I noticed a lot of replies to @NoOnProp8 about rallies, so I began distributing information about where and how to connect with people. It was well received, so I paid attention to growing it even more.
  • Lots of people wanted to know how to volunteer, so we were able to hook people up to their local field offices this way — and also to get signs, which was a very popular request.
  • We also heard about several new house parties this way, and were able to connect people to their closest event.
  • Conversely, when I initially followed back all new followers with an “@” reply, the community also let me know that they didn’t like it — and I stopped.
  • We also learned about everything from polling place problems to the site being down to donation server problems, etc via this channel.
  • We corrected some messages that had some inaccuracies this way too!  Quick attention to the community’s response saved us from spreading any mistakes further.
  • Twitter knows no geographical boundaries — but voting does.  Nevertheless, we were able to engage globally with online momentum that in the end had an affect beyond just California.

Measure

This is part of listening — actually, part of all phases.

  • Keep track of follower growth. Good to keep a trend. Falling off? Change something. Great growth? Continue doing more of same.
  • Keep track of what people are talking about and note trends, feeding these back to official messengers
  • When you tweet links, running them through a trimmer like http://tr.im first is good for two things — shortening, as well as letting you track hits to that URL.
  • Use, and reuse, http://search.twitter.com — to measure what people are saying about / to / retweeting about your twitter account.
  • Note trending topics on search.twitter.com — the term “Prop 8” was consistently within the top-ten topics towards the end of the campaign.

That’s what comes to my mind and what I was able to track throughout the intense weeks of campaigning before the election, and in the couple of months since.  We had much, much success with Twitter and it was a great experience getting to know all 3,500-plus, but I’m sure I missed opportunities too. Feel free to add to the thread if so — and if you have any additional suggestions or feedback about what else we could have done or done differently.  And thanks, again, to you — the real heroes of @NoOnProp8.

Nations are not communities

A Peoples History of the United States

A People's History of the United States

I’m finally taking the time for a book I’ve been wanting (needing, really) to read for a long time. So rarely do I light on the cutting-edge of the latest books (witness Arthur C. Clarke…), but when the time is right for me, boy do I dive in.

In A People’s History of the United States, the venerable Howard Zinn sets up his groundbreaking approach — the reason the book’s title starts with “people” — right from the outset, in his retelling of the Columbus-Arawak genocide from the standpoint of the Arawak Indians. His fundamental viewpoint:

My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.

And as always, when I see the word “community” I ponder how we have digitally co-opted the concept, and whether successfully or not. Perhaps with Internet communities we go beyond just the two sides – conquerors and conquered. It strikes me that “thinking people” are provided via the Internet with all opportunity to not just choose one side or the other, but to populate all of the lands between the two poles. Indeed, it seems the whole purpose of the oft-contentious “comments thread” is to voice a counter-opinion to the “memory of the state.”

It almost makes it sound like — on the Internet at least — there is no nation at all. Or am I being too idealistic? Do nations and corporations, in the end, still control the telling of the “history of a family”?

It does make me wonder how the conquest of the “Americas” would go down in history if the Internet were around as it happened.

The only community that needs to matter

I just read Mike Walsh’s post Community through the eyes of a 2nd grader. I really like his musings about the community at his boy’s school:

They create mini-communities or groups which they call a Grove. A Grove consists on 9 kids, 1 kid from each grade, k through 8. These Groves meet every couple of weeks to mentor, share, help, learn and develop friendships across grades. What a fabulous idea – gathering all stakeholders and discussing how they can create a stronger and more valuable community – I love it!

This interests me for many reasons. Not the least of which, life has made sense to me diffently — or only — now that I have my girl, but I’m also fascinated in general about the nexus between on- and off-line communities.

'Rock climbing' at Crissy FieldI’m passionate about “my” San Francisco community, even though it often feels just as intangible as bits on the Internet, but I’m especially curious about where on- and off-line communities “meet.” Arguably, you could say we have Monica Lewinsky to thank for the powerful growth of online communities in the “offline” world of politics (think Move On). Lately, some clever innovators are monetizing through their online stores but delivering just down the street (Kodak and its picture books). And I’m fascinated about the physical books we still buy, print, read, and most importantly, share — as well as new online gems like the promising Red Room that are also bridging that gap between physical and ethereal communities.

So are physical and online communities really so different?

Some day soon I’ll re-post my blog/rant on “Web 2.0 and my community” – which I wrote internally at my company after walking down Golden Gate Avenue to the Expo last year (and the ensuing Spock Debacle), but for now, I’m happy to just to be reminded of what matters. As Mike says

I learned quite a bit during the 60 minutes that I spent with a bunch of little kids – and enjoyed every minute of it. This is a great reminder of keeping eyes wide open. Turn off the Blackberry and listen to your little kids. It turns out that they’re pretty smart.

Likewise, like Therese Stewart saying “It’s not same-sex marriage: it’s marriage” — it’s not on- or off-line community, it’s just community. I’m thrilled every day in which I get to perceive it through new eyes.