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The chicken and egg problem of enterprise 2.0 adoption

I see a chicken and egg problem in the adoption of enterprise 2.0. Let me start by asking you, have you ever said this about a social media tool: (Check all that apply.)
  • It’s a waste time.
  • What’s the point?
  • Who cares?
  • It has no impact.
  • It’s just a fad.
  • What good is it for my business?
Well you’re not alone. Skepticism of social media still runs rampant, and yet it continues to infiltrate the lives of individuals, presidents, companies, celebrities, and social movements. What is it about social technologies that have created such a phenomenon?

It’s empowerment. These tools don’t discriminate and you don’t need an Ivy-league pedigree to make your voice heard. It’s power to the people. It’s a true democracy of ideas that can be discussed, chewed on, and either spit out or elevated to the next level -- a decision not made by one, but by many.

If you have something thoughtful, insightful, educational, or just plain funny to say, pass it along. If people value your input, you’ll develop a following of like-minded individuals. If you put a lot of junk out there, you’ll be left having a dialogue with your dog.

Just as there’s personal empowerment, the consumer-based social phenomena is carrying over to the enterprise and empowering our work lives. The outcome might be different, but the foundation is the same.

For example, Facebook was originally designed as a means to check out the babes on the Harvard campus. But individuals found a use for it that went beyond ogling, such as connecting with friends, keeping up with family, catching up with old acquaintances. And now, companies are using it for branding and to reach new audiences.

However, the true benefits of social collaboration in the enterprise have yet to be realized. We just don’t know because they’re still being adopted, tested, retested, and most importantly, accepted.

Acceptance is one of the biggest cultural hurdles when it comes to adoption of enterprise 2.0 technologies. And acceptance only happens when tangible benefits are realized. Benefits can best be realized when there is acceptance. And here you have the "chicken and the egg" of enterprise 2.0 adoption.

So where does this leave us? We must get off the sidelines and become engaged in the social movement. Just like the lottery, you've got to be in to win it. And I think the same holds true for realizing the true benefits of going social, both personally and professionally.


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