That is the title, I am sticking to it, but I do not really like it. The title should be “Who I have discovered because of Twitter”. A slight bit of ‘who I am’ might be in order, to make my point. I tend to take a more pragmatic, with a dash of logic, approach to most things. Even my kids are acutely aware of this point… Recently, my oldest (18) noted to the youngest (9), during a father daughter ‘conversation’: “Watch out Emma, dad just went logical on you, you have no chance”.
Twitter is anything but logical or pragmatic, defining exactly what it is depends upon who you are and what you do. Many have noted that personal acceptance of Twitter (as useful) may take a while, and may be a little steep (and you may not get there). Considering the value I place on my time (work life balance and all that), I look back and I am a little surprised I made it through…
Since Venessa Miemis started the trend topic, I figured I would quote her, to start (a Tweet): “imagine twitter as the collective ideas & knowledge of everyone on planet. trick is to build ur network so u can access it” So, with that as my backdrop, I prefer to talk about ‘Who’, not ‘What’, there is a chance that ‘How’ will enter the conversation as well. The members of the network have had a greater impact on how I use the application. It is possible that an interesting outcome might be what I have discovered, but that is for you to decide.
The list (of who) is not huge, but the broad spectrum (background, location, interests) of cool people is impressive. The type and level of engagement runs from people I already knew, but I learned a whole lot of new stuff about them, to people I had never met, and I doubt I would have! I have been fortunate enough to turn 140 characters into dinners, drinks, social breakfasts, blogs, comments, business, questions, answers, collaboration. It sounds a bit like community, as @ekolsky notes in his post
Twitter is a community. Shocking, I know. There are no forums or ideas or structure (well, you could try hashtags — it worked very well for the #SCRM Accidental Community), but it is a community. I wrote about this a couple of times. The main difference, and the great part about it, is that each person gets to build and mold their own community
From a geographic perspective, I have met dozens of people who live in my own backyard (Burlington, VT) to regions far an wide. I have been lucky enough to begin collaboration projects with great minds from Virginia to California, and London to Bangalore (noting Amsterdam and Paris fit in there somehow). Which by the way, leads me to my favorite Twitter description, Mark Tamis @MarkTamis – A “Parisian Dutchman with Enterprise 2.0 and BPM background. Management Facilitator. Excited by potential of Social CRM as an organisational change agent!”
To further help the point hit home, I was hit by a little bit of writers block, and noted to Esteban last evening (through Skype, the next ‘what have you discovered’ post) “I promised myself I was no longer going to write about Twitter”. I went on further and said, “I am unhappy with what I have written. I may or may not post on the topic – I am going to stick to Social CRM” – Yep, an excuse. Unable to get a good nights sleep, I awoke to find that both Esteban and Wim Rampen (@wimrampen) – one of the great minds who I have been lucky enough to become friends and learn a great deal from – wrote his post (excellent Wim) earlier than me there are points which warrant repeating here, no need to reinvent the wheel.
..it has been Social Networking in the fourth dimension. It has brought me new friends, connections, thoughts, insights and ideas in a pace I could not have thought possible as little as one year ago.
You could say that I cheated a bit and borrowed from some like minded folks who, by virtue of living 5 or 6 timezones earlier allowed me the luxury of taking a peek at what they wrote first. Uh er, wait, Esteban live 3 timezones behind me, oh well, he does not sleep anyway. Based on some other types of interactions, I may put a motion on the table to rename the “Accidental Community” to the “Sleepless Community”. But, I digress… The key point is that Twitter has allowed me to expand my horizons, learn, collaborate and engage. Is that a ‘What’ or a ‘Who’ I guess I am not really sure.
I feel a bit guilty in not sharing more specifics on the many many folks who have influenced my thinking as of late. I suppose the list is longer than I thought, a good thing.
Have a Twitter story to share? Please do so on our own blog or in the comments . Don’t forget to tweet the link and tag it #MonTwit
Before my peers from the Accidental Community slap me silly because of the technology focus of this post, I completely get that any Enterprise initiative, especially CRM, is People, Process, then technology. The focal point here is that the people and process do need a supporting infrastructure in order to truly provide Social CRM. For the purposes herein, Social CRM will use the Paul Greenberg definition:
CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.
A friend and collaborator Prem Kumar Aparanji (@prem_k) has put together a initial take (with good explanation), from an architectural footing, and my objective is to take that one step further. Even as I write, Esteban Kolsky, someone whom I have the utmost respect, has written the history of the world (CRM world), which is an important read. What is important to note, is that as time passes, we are all diving in a little deeper. It is too easy to “wax poetic” at the 50,000 foot level, but we need to help figure out exactly how to do the things we are talking about. Prem even did a little crystal gazing and wrote the prequel to this post Enterprise 2.0 v SocialCRM – Fight or Tango (thanks Prem) – the answer is… down a few paragraphs….
The core of my suggestion:
There is no reason to reinvent the wheel and as technology advances we (business leaders in the CRM arena) should absolutely take advantage of it. There is also no reason, therefore, to ignore the great work being done in the Enterprise 2.0 arena. I am a huge fan of Dion Hinchcliffe – not just one of his posts, a great many of them (cool graphics too). Especially interesting to me are a few recent posts: the August 18, 2009 (Using social software to reinvent the customer relationship)
The elimination of decades of inadequate communication channels will suddenly unleash a tide of many opportunities, as well as challenges, for most organizations.
and September 2, 2009 (Enterprise 2.0 Finding success on the frontiers of social business).
….there is something fundamentally unique and powerful about social computing. Though not all uses of social tools result in rapid adoption or instant results, those that establish an early network effect can and do push existing IT systems
Finally, Dion also spoke of a crucial component of making it all work, citing him one last time (today) the Data obviously a crucial element; August 5, 2009 (The future of enterprise data in a radically open and Web-based world)
Exposing data — whether it is internally within an organization or outside to partners, or even the whole world — is a way of thinking about the very nature of the business, more than it is about achieving a one-off end goal. This is because open data seems to create immediate, close, and powerful relationships between the publisher and the consumer of the data, and leads to a series of unexpected outcomes.
(I thought about posting his great artwork here, but that would not be proper and would not do the articles justice, so take a look when you have a few minutes.)
Here is my line of thinking – Enterprise 2.0, by definition is “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.” Andrew McAfee, May 2006 and given the definition of Social CRM above, should it be such a leap to suggest that in order to truly engage the customer, we should invite them into our Enterprise? What better tool set to do this than Enterprise 2.0 tools?
There are lots of very smart people who can solve the technical challenges which will certainly arise – security, access control – just two of I am sure a dozen more. The larger challenges will certainly be on the people and process side – you know, that 80% of the real effort. If we are truly going to be ‘Transparent‘, and foster ‘Trust‘, in addition to one of my friend Graham’s favorite topics Co-Create then we need to treat the customers and partners like family, and invite them into our home.
Graham’s article is certainly worth reading in its entirety, here is one of the key points:
Use just enough collaborative social technologies – Technologies, particularly those that support ‘social networks’, provide the backbone for collaboration between a companies and increasingly, with customers. This doesn’t mean a technology-first approach. But it does mean selecting the right technologies (and only the right ones) to enable effortless collaboration. (0ne of 11 bulleted points which are part of the article, seemed fitting for inclusion here)
In order to accomplish these goals, we really need to think of the customer as an extension of the Enterprise
As we invite the customers into the Enterprise, into our home, it is no longer an ‘us’ and ‘them’ – Customers are no longer managed, rather data is managed, analyzed to and for the benefit of the customer, the company and greater good – Customers are embraced.
It is not about technology, but about the best use of technology. It is not about the platform, but about the people who are the platform (how web 2.0 of me). It is not about one vendor either (I work for a vendor, full disclosure), it is about a solution that can provide the ROI and validation that Enterprise 2.0 is looking for – let’s call it Social CRM.
I do like how Esteban ends his blogs – “OK, I am done now. Let’s open the floodgates of criticism and praise.”
- There is a Big Difference Between Can’t and Won’t
- Stop Thinking in Two Dimensions
- No Beginning, No Middle and No End
- Rethinking the Customer Journey
- The Simplest Thing I Ever Had to Write
- Context Integration, the Future of System to System Interactions
- The Evolution of Customer Community
- The Fine Line Between Personalization and Creepy
- Experience Innovation
- Maybe We are Using the Wrong Words to Describe Collaboration
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